Strategy: Platform Update, Twitter Doubles Character Count


TL;DR: Twitter rolled out 280 character limit to select users this week. Brands saw the opportunity to join the conversation, whether or not they are a part of the test group.

UPDATE as of Nov 7: Twitter has now rolled out the 280 character limit to all users.

Twitter now allows users to send tweets up to 280 characters “in languages impacted by cramming.” Users in China, Japan and South Korea are able to express more in fewer characters where users in other countries typically had some frustration in attempting to say everything they wanted to say in the restricted 140 limit.

There seems to be no rhyme or reason as to which brands and users were bestowed the power of 280, but as you might imagine, not all characters were used for good:

Whether or not brands got the green light for the extended count, they still had something to say about the new update:

But of course, you can’t make everyone happy:

The update, while limited to a select audience, has received mixed reviews from long-time users. Many have perfected the art of 140 characters since Twitter first launched in 2006. The 140 limit coincided with wireless carriers' limits on texting at the time. Since then we've seen news break, debates flare, plenty of jokes and memes as well as some great live-tweeted stories.

What does the new space mean for brands? Jokes aside, the ideal length for a tweet sits at 100 characters and visual content over text continues to be most important across all platforms. Brands now are jumping on the trend to gain traction, but when the chatter dies down, this Spark predicts that the average user will only see tweets that occasionally use all 280 characters: Think breaking news, statements and jokes that take longer to get to the punchline.

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