Twitter’s 280 Characters: an innovative feature or a surplus character?

Twitter character limits are a social institution in their own right, and, for many, forming a 140-character tweet is a modern-day art form. So, it’s safe to say, when Twitter announced they are considering increasing the sacred character limit to 280 there was a social media storm. But, what would an increased character limit actually mean for digital marketing?

On the positive side, an increased character limit may eliminate the dilemma of removing one character from your 141-character tweet or making a grammatical error to fit the character restrictions. A longer Tweet will also enable marketers to get their message across more elaborately and enable you to include links without the worry of running out of characters. Twitter also hope this change will increase user engagement and attention times, making Tweets less of a fleeting comment and more of an engaging piece of prose.

However, this is also where the problems start. Tweeting your brand’s message in limited characters is a fine-tuned skill and a marketing tool that enables you to concisely hone in on your exact message with brevity and substance. The worry now is tweets will become unnecessarily lengthy and could actually disengage followers, as well as altering the style of your brand’s Twitter, often a focal point of modern day marketing campaigns.

Although Twitter changing its social media unique selling point seems, for now, a largely surplus initiative, especially given the recent scrutiny they have faced over social media harassment, it falls to digital and social media marketers to move with the ever-changing features of social media and use them to their advantage to create pithy yet expressive tweets, whatever the character limit.