opinion

Tweets Stretching Past 140 Characters, Allowing Better Writing

Lauren Macewen

Twitter is never boring. It is on of the few social networks that is truly evolving to the needs of their users.

Facebook stated a long time ago that they do not care what their users want or think of their features. They make changes and adjustments according to company needs, not the interest of the user experience.

Twitter is the only network that continues to evolve according to what users want. The most recent change is extending their tweets character length to no longer include link or photos in the character count.

Twitter is the only network that continues to evolve according to what users want. The most recent change is extending their tweets character length to no longer include link or photos in the character count.

This past winter, interim CEO Jack Dorsey said that Twitter was going to extend the 140-character limit to 10,000 characters. They had done this to DMs in the spring of 2015.

For direct messages, this was a great change. This gave people a venue, on Twitter, to have more in-depth conversations without worrying about character restrictions. Anyone doing customer service on Twitter really appreciated the change.

However, changing the overall character requirements for a tweet threatened to change the core of the social network. Brevity is what makes Twitter unique. Without brevity, Twitter might as well be Facebook or Tumblr.

When this update was leaked, the twitterverse exploded in horror at the idea. People were predicting the end of the social network. Very few people came out in support and most were very vocal on how horrible an idea it was. Did Twitter listen? Maybe.

We have not heard an update on if the mythical 10,000-character tweet will be coming out. But this new change seems to be doing both, listening to the user base and extending the character limit.

A link takes up 23 characters. The same is true for photos. Even through you do not see the link for a photo, just like on a website, photos hosted on Twitter each have a unique URL. The network parses that image link information into a visual interpretation (i.e., the photo, instead of just showing us the link).

All links and photos are wrapped in the t.co link shortener. This is the shortener that Twitter uses to track clicks. If you post a long link in your tweet, Twitter will wrap it in a t.co. Even if you use an external link shortner like Bit.ly or goo.gl they will still wrap it. You can see this by right clicking a link, copying the URL and pasting it into a browser.

Whatever the URL is that is showing will still paste as a t.co. Don’t worry, if you are using a link shortener to track your clicks, it will still work. It is an internal tracking mechanism for Twitter. But this is how links are reduced to 23 characters.

If each photo and each link takes up 24 characters of space, that only leaves you with 92 characters of space to work with. That is not very much space to type your tweet.

This new change is freeing up to 46 characters in your tweets! This means that you now have more room to express your thoughts, put in call to actions, put together a better written tweet. I would like to say that this update may get rid of horrible tweet writing like, “I want to see ur face 2nite.” But unfortunately, it likely won’t.

Beyond better writing, it does give us the opportunity to have better-crafted tweets. More space means more options. This will likely have a positive effect on click through rates and engagement.

The timing is good as we enter the summer months and hit that summer slump of traffic when everyone is too busy being outside and not on their phone. Maybe the change will help mitigate the slump.

Lauren MacEwen operates 7Veils.com, providing social media strategy and management for the adult entertainment industry. Her Twitter handle is @7_veils.

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