I love Twitter. In fact, it’s my favorite social network and news source. I love the 140-character limit, so when I read the Recode article announcing that Twitter was considering a 10,000-character limit, I naturally thought, “WTF? Why?” I didn’t want more characters; I did want an edit option. It's that simple. The upshot was that I created a poll on Twitter to see what people thought:
#Twitter10k poll time. Would love your feedback on the rumored switch to 10k characters. Please vote & retweet. ?
— Jonathan Long (@MDMJonathan) January 6, 2016
So there it is: The majority of people (in my unscientific poll) wanted Twitter to stick to what made it so unique in the first place. I was also gratified to see that I wasn't the only one who wanted an edit option, because, let’s face it, most people, myself included, don’t like change.
Still, I wanted to open my mind to the idea of the change. So I did a little thinking, and came up with four reasons why we should embrace the rumored change.
1. A new content publishing platform and improved search visibility
Earlier this year, the Google-Twitter deal went live, giving tweets top exposure in Google’s search results. Logical thinking would suggest that content-rich tweets will perform very well in Google’s search results, giving brands another platform to use to attract organic website traffic.
With the larger character limit, Twitter now becomes a very powerful content marketing platform to engage with your audience. More character space translates to more opportunity to educate and inform potential prospects with a detailed message. And that can be crafted to send visitors back to offers and content on your website.
2. Tweets at first glance will still appear to be 140 characters
“I don’t want my time line cluttered with 10,000 character tweets!”
“It’s going to turn into an overly promotional sh#t storm!”
Fear not. According to the Recode article, tweets will appear the same way they do now, displaying no more than 140 characters, with a call-to-action, allowing users to expand and see the full tweet but not have clogged timelines.
If your timeline has the same look and feel if/when this rolls out, what’s the problem? If users don’t want to engage with long-form content on Twitter, they won’t be forced to. They can bale, to browse their timeline and absorb all the 140-character micro-content they want. Even if that content does change, then, the current look and feel won’t.
3. 10,000 characters allows more detail
Brand awareness, thought leadership and audience-building will be taken to a new height. The 140-character limit makes it hard to deliver a thorough message: A short call to action and a link to an external piece of content or offer are how it’s done now.
But consider the potential with expansion: Your ability to present your message or offer without forcing users to leave Twitter will greatly increase the number of eyes that will see your message.
Users will also be more willing to click an “expand” option than an external link -- it will be less disruptive, and you will still be able to work in a call-to-action within that 10,000 character long-form content. That way, you can push your followers to an external source -- giving you a much larger platform to provide value.
4. More in-depth analytical data
Currently, Twitter’s analytics shows us the number of impressions and engagements each tweet receives. The engagements are then broken down into detail expands, likes, retweets, profile clicks, follows, replies and email shares.
This is all great valuable data, but imagine what data could be included if Twitter does roll out those long-form options. Possibilities include data on the total time spent engaging with the tweet; how far down in the content the user scrolled; the use of click-on links within the long-form content, etc.
All of this could open the door to much more in-depth analytical data that could be used to truly improve Twitter as a marketing tool for your brand.