Have you heard? Twitter has been in discussion about modifying the biggest part about who they are as a social media platform… their 140 character limit. This character limit is likely to expand to 10,000 characters – a huge leap, right? Not only are they talking about it, but they’re testing it and getting it ready for launch – as early as March, 2016!
Twitter’s internal team calls this project “Beyond 140”.
Where’d the idea come from?
The team has been observing their users’ actions on Twitter, and what they’ve discovered is quite interesting.
CEO, Jack Dorsey, mentioned that they see many people taking screenshots of text and tweeting that content as an image. He said, “What if that text… was actually text? Text that could be searched. Text that could be highlighted. That’s more utility power.”
Jack’s Tweet (screenshot image) Jan. 5:
Also, Twitter’s direct messaging manager stated that they already changed their direct messaging limit from 140 to 10,000 because users expanding their writing limit was the number one request!
What will this do?
There’s a worrisome question that surfaces when a company (known for their quick snippets of content) announces a change like this. We – as marketers – start asking ourselves, “What will happen to the quick-hitting info of a newsfeed? Will it now be lengthy, annoying, and bombarding for users?”
Luckily, Jack has already thought of this issue and has informed the public of the team’s ideas of what this newsfeed may look like and how it dissolves these worrisome questions. Although not final, the tested version of this newsfeed will look quite similar to how it currently appears, displaying 140 characters, but with the inclusion of a call to action that expands the remaining content (up to 10,000 characters).
This is smart on Jack’s and the Twitter team’s part, because keeping 140 characters on display (unless otherwise expanded) will retain the ability to (somewhat) keep engagement rates up. The larger the images and lengthier the copy, the less and less items a user sees in their feed – thus the engagement rate drops.
Because of the option for an expanded post, I personally don’t see how these newsfeeds can escape from a dropping engagement rate. If users are truly interested in the content they’re seeing, they will expand it, and start spending more quality time within less newsfeed real estate.
What does Twitter get out of this?
If Twitter succeeds in luring new users to join the platform and increases their overall users, they will have then created a better marketplace for advertisers, AKA – more money.
Let’s see how this all plays out; I know I’m curious! And know that our Pathfinders team will be all up in the mix of it, testing and determining best SEO practices, content ratios, and hashtag techniques once it launches.
Bring it, 10,000!