Should you use all 280 characters?

Twitter’s expanded character limit might change how many use the platform. Should brands embrace the change or stick to their previous pithy style?

Does twice the length really equate two times the power?

A new update on Twitter allows you to tweet double the original 140-character limit, leaving more room to share hashtags, links, photos, and commentary. Yet, is there a compelling reason to add more words?

Brevity used to be the key feature of the platform, which contributed to its real-time discussion. Bursts of many short tweets spark conversations, Twitter chats, responses and side conversations, similar to conversing via text message.

Short and snappy statements were intrinsically part of the real-time nature of Twitter; unlike Facebook, where you might share only a few times per week, Twitter was a place for constant updates.

Constraints make for better writing

Shorter tweets force you to be a better writer by honing your skills to create succinct messages. It may take more time to draft, but the exercise makes you a better writer.

Being able to write longer tweets may diminish the thought you put into them. Instead of being forced to choose your words carefully to fit the strict limit, you can write rambling sentences and press “send” without taking a second look with an editor’s eye. Longer tweets remove this useful practice. Do 140 additional characters add that much more value to the message you’re conveying?

More characters also result in more clutter. When you look at Twitter, or any social media, you’re barraged with videos, advertisements, photos, polls and more. On the other side, as a brand, adding more text means your audiences must sift through more material, potentially making your messages less effective.

How brands can use the new format

With 280 characters, there is more to consider when tweeting. Is the new character space being used to better support points with details, media, or links? Is there a simpler way to say it, or let something speak for itself?

One way that the new limit was used effectively by a brand was by @MeCookieMonster:

The day the limit was increased, the tweet was shared 140,000 times. Here, you can see how this is a good use of the tweet real estate. It’s eye-catching and creative, and it drew a lot of attention to the handle. Did you ever see a Cookie Monster tweet before that?

However, you can still rely on the short tweet style paired with engaging media content. Brands like Starbucks, are continuing to do so:

If you look at some of the top brands on Twitter, you’ll see that they haven’t expanded to meet the new Twitter limit and have instead maintained their old content strategy to get their point across.

News sites, however, are taking advantage of the change to share more details about their stories, which might be a valid use of the space. The expanded character count will make it easier to manage engagement, where you can use the new limit to make it easier to interact with customers who have questions or pitch media outlets.

Using the new limit is a balance; you should consider whether you’re adding value with more characters, or whether a traditional, brief message will be more effective.

How about you, PR Daily readers? Do you think 280 characters are useful, or do you prefer to keep tweets short?

Laura Shubel is an account executive at Caster Communications . You can connect with Laura on Twitter: @LauraShoebell or LinkedIn.

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