Our beloved Bluebird of Brevity has made the boggling flutter from 140 characters to 280, and marketers are all a-twitter about it – whether it will boost or belittle their promotional activities.
Fear not, the prognosis is good – although it's too soon to tell for sure.
Blogs, tests and stats
Twitter blogs claim that this newfound bounty strengthens communication. Thinking outside the birdbox, this should optimise the power and reach of marketers and brands.
A deciding factor in their decision is that Japanese, Chinese and Korean Tweeters require fewer characters than their European counterparts. Here’s their graph to prove it:
“We see that a small percent of Tweets sent in Japanese have 140 characters (only 0.4%). But in English, a much higher percentage of Tweets have 140 characters (9%). Most Japanese Tweets are 15 characters while most English Tweets are 34. Our research shows us that the character limit is a major cause of frustration for people Tweeting in English, but it is not for those Tweeting in Japanese.”
Twitter is convinced that this luxurious surfeit will make more people tweet – more often. Some of us have our doubts – those who think brevity is a Good Thing, that it enhances clarity (and it does); those that fear Twitter will morph from microblog to maxiblah; become like other social media platforms.
Smarter and faster
The new 280-character limit has been tested by Twitter since September this year. The test group found it spent less time composing Tweets. Why? Because we all know how challenging/frustrating it can be to convey a concept/share news in 140 characters. Time can be wasted tweaking the update to within an inch of its life, i.e. with more characters to play with, tweak-time is reduced.
Increased social engagement
If doubled characters encourage people to spend more time on Twitter, to tweet more (and the tests prove this), it also increases engagement – likes/retweets, @mentions/more followers. This is good news for brands with elevated exposure and engagement with Twitter’s 330 million active users per month.
Greater authority and status
You can now elaborate on your offer, respond more quickly and thoroughly, optimise customer satisfaction. It’s still only 280 characters, guys – it’s still a microblog. It still delivers easy to understand information. Remember: you don’t have to use all the characters. Concision + Clarity = Class. And, heaven, forbid, grammar might resume its throne. Hmm, we’ll take a rain check on that one.
Yes, you guessed, Twitter’s new format has its detractors, some of them among the literati:
J.K. Rowling isn’t impressed…
Stephen King isn’t impressed…
And this person (General Partner at Google Ventures) makes a very strong argument against…
Not sure how #Twitter280 will benefit your marketing activities? Contact bandv for further insight, ideas and advice on its potential leverage. Tweet here...