Earlier this year, Twitter drew the attention of many by teasing that its character limit would rise by over 7000% to 10,000 – a major change for a platform centred around being brief. For now, though, it seems this idea has been put on the back-burner, with Twitter execs deciding to instead focus efforts on providing users with more characters without impacting the unique experience offered by the platform.
Announced in a tweet linking to the site’s blog last week, Twitter revealed that, over the coming months, it will be helping users make the most of their 140 characters by incorporating several changes to how tweeting works.
Among these updates will be:
- Media attachments, like photos, videos and GIFs, no longer counting towards users’ character limit.
- If replying to a tweet, the @name(s) no longer counting as part of your 140 characters
- Users being able to Retweet themselves and Quote Tweet their own posts
So what does this mean for you, your business and how you tweet?
1) You can (and should) use more photos and media: Currently, photos use 23 characters each. This means that many users face a tough decision – say more without photos or let your photos do the talking. In the near future, users will have the best of both worlds.
Photos and videos are key to creating engaging content on social media. Without them, posts can look a bit drab and dry – so once Twitter’s lifted the 23-character ‘penalty’ for posting them, you’ll be able to make the most of your image library and show people what really makes you stand apart…all without losing space for words.
2) You’ll have more words to play with when conversing: Twitter is all about conversation and now you’ll have a few more words to play with when engaging with customers or other businesses on the site. Like the announcement post says: “Characters are for conversations, not usernames”
This means it will be much easier to reply to someone wanting to chat and engage with you without worrying that their username is over 10 characters long. This will also be particularly useful when replying to group conversations where several @names are mentioned.
Bear in mind that this updated function is only for replying to tweets you’ve received, not sending an initial tweet out to an individual or group. If you’re trying to connect with and start a conversation with one or several accounts at once, their @names will still cost you characters.
3) You can give your tweets a second chance: Have you ever tweeted something, expecting people to really engage with it, only to check back an hour or two later and see that you’ve got no Retweets or Favourites? Well, now you can give your tweets a second shot by Retweeting them yourself for people to see one more time. This will also give users the opportunity to add something new to what they’ve said, which may or may not get more people talking and engaging.
Be careful with this new function, though. Many people tend to roll their eyes when people or businesses on Facebook ‘Like’ or ‘Share’ their own posts, so our advice would be to Retweet your own posts sparingly and not make a habit out of it.
According to Twitter: “We’re exploring ways to make existing uses easier and enable new ones, all without compromising the unique brevity and speed that make Twitter the best place for live commentary, connections, and conversations.”
We may need to wait a while longer before we can tweet out several paragraphs of exposition – which isn’t a bad thing at all since Twitter is all about keeping messages short and succinct.
Instead, all we need to do is wait a month or two until Twitter officially rolls the new tweet updates out so that we can start making the most of more characters!