Part of Twitter’s charm has always been its 140-character limit. This novel restriction that has been in place since the social network was launched in March 2006 has continually been the subject of much debate, with one side saying it adds to the overall appeal and the other arguing that it excessively limits what people can say.
Regardless of which point of view you agree with, Twitter has just rolled out a new 280-character limit following a trial run with select users. It’s part of Twitter’s plan to appeal to more users and increase its overall monthly active user count.
Right now, Facebook leads the social media pack in terms of monthly active users (2.1 billion predicted by the end of the year). YouTube and Instagram are in second and third place respectively, while Twitter currently finds itself in the fourth spot, with approx. 330 million monthly active users.
140 vs 280 characters
However, the new character limit (obviously) hasn’t been met with unanimous acclaim.
Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling tweeted: “Twitter’s destroyed its USP,” Rowling wrote. “The whole point, for me, was how inventive people could be within that concise framework.”
But whether people like it or not, the new limit has been implemented and, unless a major reversal occurs, is here to stay.
So what does that mean for you as a business owner who wants to use social media to their advantage?
How to leverage 280 characters
First and foremost, you do not need to use all 280 characters every time you tweet just because they are there. We’ve all managed under the old tweet limit for more than 11 years, so the new change shouldn’t alter all the good habits we’ve learnt.
For example, don’t start unnecessarily tagging other Twitter accounts or adding additional hashtags to your tweets. Only tag other Twitter users when it’s really relevant and stick with just two or three hashtags max. per tweet.
You’ll notice that the tweet box on the desktop and mobile versions of Twitter now has a small countdown circle. This acts as a visual indicator when tweeting and allows you to see when you are nearing the 280-character limit.
With double the amount of characters available now, you can start getting a little more creative with your tweets. Here are a handful of ideas to start the ball rolling:
- Share multiple links in a single tweet
- Tweet in two different languages
- Ask multiple questions in a single tweet
- Tweet lists
- Quote books or people
- Add some really descriptive text to images and videos
- Simply express yourself that bit more
Interestingly, the 140-character tweet limit still applies to users tweeting in Chinese, Japanese and Korean. Twitter says that’s because Asian languages already allow people to fit more in using fewer characters.
Do you have any suggestions on how the new character limit could be utilised? Maybe you’re already taking advantage of it to the max.? I’d love to hear from you! Let me know in comments or tweet me at @lenkakopp.