Express Yourself: Making Your Twitter Characters Count

There has always been a certain art to tweeting. The ability to convey a strong message in a succinct 140-character bundle still evades many, but rewards the few imbued with the power of brevity. Well, it’s all over – the world is forever changed.

It all began at the start of 2016, with rumours that Twitter was about to do away with its character limit entirely. Thankfully, that hasn’t yet come to pass. But there is, as they say, some truth behind every rumour. And so, this week Twitter announced that it is to relax its historically strict character limit.

As of… soon, media links and @ replies (only at the very beginning of tweets) will no longer count towards your 140 character upper limit. For some, this development will be exciting, bringing with it a whole world of slightly less concise possibility. For others, it evokes visions of verbose tweets, littered with unexciting images and distressing copy.

An Opportunity Missed…

My advice? Take a step back. Consider what a relaxed character count could mean for your social media life. Think of all the interesting things you could have said had it not been for that compelling image. Well, now you can have your cake AND eat it.

Don’t let this change you. Don’t max out on character limits for the sake of it. Hold yourself to the same standards required of you before. This isn’t an opportunity for over-tweeting, or telling your devoted followers that little bit extra about your pet cat ‘Steve’ who no-one really cares about anyway.

Just because you get a free image or GIF does not give you the right to abuse it. If it’s relevant, witty or genuinely funny go ahead. If it isn’t, then either do better or don’t attach it at all. Remember, bad tweets can be as damaging as good tweets are constructive.

Is an Opportunity Lost…

As creative as you’ll want to get with Twitter’s relaxed character limits, you should also be thinking. Test what works for your brand and what doesn’t. Are shorter tweets still better? What calls to action can I add that will resonate with my followers? Twitter analytics is your friend, now more than ever.

What I can guarantee is that followers will still demand intriguing, compelling and succinct copy. Brevity is a skill best employed both on and off Twitter. Don’t be scared to add a dash of lexical flare, but stay away from obfuscation. This is an opportunity for better on-brand messaging, don’t squander it.