Twitter is in a fight for survival and is doubling down on content. Two recent moves by Twitter could have quite an impact on not only its platforms, but others as well. The two big changes are:
- Expanding the character limit on tweets from 140 to 280
- Adding a button to facilitate easy publishing of threads (i.e., multiple sequential tweets on a given topic)
Twitter, which for years was a quick-hitting forum for sound bites, is morphing into a more versatile platform for sharing much more detailed thoughts and information. Whether you think this shift is good or bad, it’s definitely different.
The End of Blogs?
Some people are already theorizing that the growth of threads will lead to a shift away from blogs. If bloggers are able to construct blog post-like content on Twitter and reach a wider audience, they would certainly find this a tempting option. Besides reaching a larger audience, Twitter relieves bloggers of the time and cost of maintaining a website.
On the other hand, publishing on Twitter forces bloggers to give up something extremely valuable — complete ownership and control of their content. If Twitter disappears or it archives, deletes or modifies content, there’s not much the creator can do about it.
What easy threads will do is create more competition for bloggers. People who never had a blog or never wanted a blog will now be publishing threads on topics bloggers also cover, giving Twitter users fewer reasons (perhaps) to visit blogs.
If this begins to happen, bloggers will need to make their content all the more useful, insightful and complex to give Twitter users plenty of reasons to start or continue reading.
The End of Brevity?
A Twitter user since 2008, I really liked the brevity of 140 characters. Twitter was an easy platform for scanning news and having pointed and entertaining conversations. And while tweets can certainly remain brief, content generally expands to fill the limit. In time, it’s likely we’ll hear people complaining they can’t stuff their ideas into a mere 280 characters. Double-length tweets and unlimited threads will give Twitter streams a whole new, longer look in a short time.
For marketers, more generous content limits give companies an opportunity to present information that is more useful, persuasive and engaging — and to interact with customers and prospects in deeper, more meaningful ways.
This is good, provided Twitter users don’t begin suffering from content overload and ignore all this information. It’s a very real danger. Longer messages are only effective if they are better messages — and this is really going to be the big challenge for social media campaigns on Twitter going forward.
Over to You
What are your thoughts on Twitter’s new rules? How will longer tweets and easier threads affect your Twitter marketing?