September 27, 2017Published by: Drew Benvie

What would you do with twice the tweet? #280characters

Last night, Twitter announced that it will be doubling the length of a tweet, to 280 characters. The social network launched originally as an alternative to the text message, which back then could only be 160 characters long. So Twitter factored in the username length, and gave each tweet a maximum of 140. This has been Twitter's USP since day one, but as user growth has slowed for Twitter, the company has been looking for new features to roll out that might reignite users' love for the social network.

Why double it? Threads.

More and more, Twitter users are posting multiple tweets to get their point across - referred to as a thread. Longer tweets, in other words, show that Twitter's listening to user behaviours and bringing out functions people want. Here's an example of a recent thread that got 199,000 retweets... so why wouldn't users what longer tweets then?

What do users think?

Although threads are a thing, most Twitter users do not seem to be warming to longer tweets, full stop. I, for one, think that shorter messages make Twitter easier to graze, and long tweets will simply slow down the experience of dipping in and out of the news feed. This user seems to think the same... having been given the 280 character limit already. Many users have instead posted asking for better management of trolling, or the ability to edit a tweet.

What about for brands on social?

The key point here is that you will not HAVE to make a tweet 280 characters. So brands will need to figure out how often to go long, and when to keep it snappy. Images, links and interactive content like polls already increase engagement of a tweet, so brands will need to quickly look at what a long tweet does to these stats, and roll with it.

What next?

Users are now crying out for new features from Twitter. Here at Battenhall we're wondering when Stories will appear on Twitter. Is the company too proud to copy both Snapchat AND Instagram? I personally think something more radical than longer tweets is needed to revitalise the little bluebird.

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