Since its creation in March 2006, Twitter has become a prominent part of modern social media. With over 300 million active users as of 2018, there are very few people who do not know what Twitter is or who have access to it.
With such a wide audience, there are many differences in how people use the platform. Some follow lots of accounts but rarely read their tweets, some read all the tweets but do not follow back, and some are just straight up trolls.
Regardless of your stance on Twitter, one thing that can be agreed on is that the character limit for a tweet is too short. At only 120 characters (including spaces), there is not much room to express your thoughts.
For some things, this is fine, but for things like poetry or stories, it is hard to fit it into only 120 characters.
420 characters would be a better limit
While the current 140 character limit has been a hard rule for Twitter, other users have suggested that the cap should be higher. At 420 characters, a tweet would be just long enough for a haiku.
Some even argue that tweets should be much longer than 140 characters because the limit is too restrictive. With all of the rich media and content people have to work with, it can be hard to fit it all in a tweet!
Others believe that any increase to the character limit would lead to people tweeting more frivolous things simply because they could. With more space to tweet, people might not think as critically about what they post.
Ultimately, it is up to Twitter whether or not they want to change the character limit.
Longer tweets may get more engagement
Despite Twitter’s new 280-character limit, studies show that tweets that are longer get more engagement.
In fact, tweets that are 100 characters or longer receive more likes and retweets than tweets that are shorter. This is true even when the tweets are limited to 140 characters.
This may be because people feel the need to express themselves more fully when the tweet is longer. People feel like they have more room to say what they want to say.
Interestingly, this same study found that average tweet length didn’t affect engagement. That means you can either tweet short and sweet or expand on what you want to say, but either way will garner the same amount of engagement.
The only thing you have to worry about is going over the character limit. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter how long your tweet is – your followers will still see it and engage with it.
It’s time for Twitter to move to longer tweets
With Twitter now allowing up to 280 character tweets, it’s time for the platform to increase the tweet length even more.
Despite the fact that Twitter now allows you to write a little bit longer tweets, it will not change the way you interact with the platform.
You will still have to fit your thoughts into 140 characters and you will still have to click on the link or photo to see what the tweet is about.
The increase in character count will just allow people to fit more information in their tweets which is a good thing. More information means more conversation starters!
I think that an ideal length for a tweet would be around 300 characters but that is just my opinion. I think that would allow people to fit all their thoughts in while still leaving room for links and photos.
The future of social media is long content
As Twitter continues to evolve, users are finding new ways to use the platform. One of the biggest trends is for Twitter users to post long content, or what is being called tweetstorms.
Tweetstorms are when a user posts a series of tweets that form a coherent thought. These can be responses to other tweets, thoughts, ideas, etc.
People start tweetstorms with the goal of posting all of their thoughts in a series of tweets. Users then retweet the tweetstorm in its entirety to make it easier for others to read it.
Whether you are big on reading or not, there are plenty of reasons to give tweetstorms a try. Read on for some tips on how to create your own!
Twitter is moving towards supporting longer tweets due to the success of tweetstorms and other long content on the platform. Currently, the platform supports posts up to 280 characters but may increase this in the coming months.
Long-form content gets more shares on Facebook
In 2016, Facebook changed its algorithm to favor content from friends, rather than media outlets. This was an attempt to encourage real social interaction between friends rather than passive viewing of videos and articles.
Since people are limited to 300 characters on Twitter, you can’t write very long-form content for that platform. On Twitter, people want quick reads or light humor that don’t take much time to digest.
However, on Facebook, the new algorithm rewards posts that get longer engagement – which means more shares and comments. Posts with lots of comments and shares indicate that people really liked what they read or watched, which is what Facebook wants to promote.
The irony is that reading long-form content on Facebook is what helps your post get more exposure.
Long-form content gets more engagement on Facebook
In 2017, Facebook changed its algorithm to favor posts with more content, or what they call “long-form content.” The social media site determined that posts with longer content get more likes, comments, and shares.
According to a March 5th Facebook blog post, the new algorithm favors posts with “high quality content” that attempts to motivate people to interact with the post and each other in the comments section.
The algorithm looks for three things: whether you interact with people in the post’s comments section, whether you interact with people who have interacted with your posts in the past, and whether the post has high quality content that attempts to motivate people to engage.
Facebook says it tracks these things using over a hundred different signals – but none of them are related to how many followers or friends you have.
The average person spends 55 minutes per day on their mobile phone
With so much time spent on phones, there’s plenty of opportunity to use them for good-or for evil. As Twitter clearly understands, the platform has the potential to radically change how we interact with the world around us.
You can use your phone to find out what’s going on in the world or ignore it; you can engage with other people or avoid them; you can spend time thinking or scrolling.
As with any technology, it’s up to you how you use it. But as we all know, there are some people who simply can’t control themselves when it comes to their phone.
So Twitter is trying to limit the damage that someone might do by giving them less time on their phone to do it. The average person will now spend only 55 minutes a day on the app — which sounds like a blessing, until you remember how addictive it is.
Twitter should take a lesson from Instagram
While Twitter is trying to teach Instagram how to be more like Twitter by allowing longer posts, Instagram should return the favor and teach Twitter how to be more like Instagram.
Specifically, Instagram should convince Twitter to let users post photos and short videos along with tweets. That way, it would be more like a close cousin of Facebook, which would make more sense.
Currently, you can only post text on Twitter, which is kind of its whole point. But as we’ve seen with the growing popularity of Snapchat and Instagram Stories, people are gravitating toward apps that allow them to share photos and short videos instead.
Twitter should consider making this change before it’s too late. Otherwise, we may see a mass exodus toward apps that do offer photo and video integration.