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When Twitter announced it was doubling the length limit for tweets from 140 to 280 characters, there was a lot of speculation about how it would affect the platform. Now, a year later, we finally have hard data about the effects of the new character limit, and some of the findings are surprising.

Tweets Are Not Getting Longer

Despite the extra space to say your piece, the majority of Twitter users haven’t actually taken advantage of the extra length. In fact, the average length of English language tweets has actually decreased by one character to 33 characters per tweet.

Additionally, Twitter says only 12% of English tweets are longer than the previous 140 character limit, and just 1% hit the newer 280 character limit.

Twitter Users Are Becoming More Polite

Twitter may have a reputation for rude and hateful users, but the increased tweet length may actually be subtly making the platform a nicer place to be. Twitter’s statistics indicate that users have begun using more polite phrases since the change.

Specifically, the company’s data shows that 54% more tweets include the word “please” and 22% more tweets use “thank you” since the change.

Fewer abbreviations

Another interesting shift is that the increased character limit has led to users fully writing out words instead of using abbreviations. Usage of “gr8” has dropped 36%, while “great” is up 32%. Similarly, usage of “b4” is down 13% while “before” has risen 70%.

What this means for you

The biggest takeaway is that the new character limit hasn’t drastically altered Twitter. Short thoughts are still the norm, while longer tweets are still regularly broken up into “tweetstorms” to help segment them for easier reading or dramatic flair.

What has changed is the actual content of the discussions. Writing has become more natural and user engagement is rising. These are all positive results for the social platform who has struggled in recent years to retain its identity and bring more depth to the conversations on its platform.

Tweetstorms have grown from a user-initiated trick to get past Twitter’s original 140-character limit into a legitimate feature this week, as Twitter launches a new feature to combine tweets into a longer statement.

In a blog post, the company says the ability to tie tweets into what they are calling a “thread” will be rolling out to all Twitter users “in the coming weeks.”

Since the launch of Twitter, it has been tradition for users to reply to their own tweets to expand on what they want to say. Often, these tweets and replies will be labeled with numbers to make it clear what order to read them in.

Now, Twitter is simplifying the process with a “+” button which lets them continue their thought in a thread. The process can be repeated to make threads as long as users need (up to 25 threads). People will also be able to add tweets to new threads.

Thanks to the new feature, the way tweetstorms or threads are shown in people’s feeds will also be changing. Instead of scrolling through the list of tweets in replies, users can simply click a “show this tread” label to expand the full set of tweets.

The decision to launch the thread feature now is an interesting one. The company has already expanded the maximum length of tweets to allow users to fit more in at a time. With the latest move, Twitter has made it clear that brevity is quickly falling down their list of priorities in favor of more complex conversations.

Since its creation, Twitter has been defined by one simple thing. No, not memes, politics, or the platform’s ability to spread information faster than even the biggest news networks. The hallmark trait of the social media service has always been its 140-character limit.

This week, Twitter announced that could change very soon as the company has begun testing tweets that are twice as long. A small group of randomly chosen users from around the globe have been given the ability to create tweets with up to 280-characters.

As co-founder Jack Dorsey said in a tweet announcing the test:

“This is a small change, but a big move for us. 140 was an arbitrary choice based on the 160 character SMS limit. Proud of how thoughtful the team has been in solving a real problem people have when trying to tweet. And at the same time maintaining our brevity, speed, and essence!”

Of course, this isn’t the first time Twitter has experimented with super-sized tweets. The company made major waves early last year when news broke that Twitter was considering expanding tweets well beyond 140 or even 280-characters. At the time, it was rumored Twitter was considering lengthening tweets up to 10,000 characters, though the idea was eventually discarded.

The big question is whether users will actually come to like the longer tweets and if it encourages more conversation. The early reaction is somewhat hostile from users who say that removing the need for brevity doesn’t actually equate to saying more.

https://twitter.com/brianrbarone/status/912788388150960130

Given that Twitter users are largely protective of the restraints they’ve come to love, the strong reaction isn’t necessarily a surprise and may not be indicative of the long-term response. While many users complain about longer tweets, a number of determined users have found workarounds so that they can get in on the 280-character party even if they weren’t selected for the limited beta test group.

The decision to expand tweets could also remove the need for old Twitter customs where users would share screenshots of longer texts as pictures or share several related tweets as a “tweet chain” or “tweetstorm”.

Ultimately, we will all just have to sit back and wait to see whether the 280-character limit catches on or if it is just another Twitter experiment that will fade into the ether.

Twitter has always been built on the idea that brevity is the soul of wit. But, it can still be hard to fit everything you need to say in just 140 characters, especially if you’re responding to someone with a long username.

Until now, user names were included in YouTube’s character limit. That is no longer the case as of this week. Twitter announced that usernames won’t subtract from your tweet’s 140 character count from now on.

Additionally, the company is changing up how replies appear to make conversations easier to follow with three new features:

  • Who you are replying to will appear above the Tweet text rather than within the Tweet text itself, so you have more characters to have conversations.
  • You can tap on “Replying to…” to easily see and control who’s part of your conversation.
  • When reading a conversation, you’ll actually see what people are saying, rather than seeing lots of @usernames at the start of a Tweet.

“It’s now easier to follow a conversation, so you can focus on what a discussion is about, and who is having it,” Twitter explained in a blog post. “Also, with all 140 characters for your replies, you have more room to participate in group conversations.

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The new changes should be available to all users across PC, iOS, and Android already. According to the company’s testing, Twitter says the new features lead to higher engagement for conversations.

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Twitter has introduced a new way for users to get in touch with your brand directly from your website with the Message button, as the company announced in a tweet today.

The button can be embedded on any website and allows anyone with a Twitter account to direct message you with just a single tap.

The button is stylistically what you would expect from Twitter’s other buttons and is very easy to set up. However, you should double-check your settings to make sure you can receive direct messages from everyone, not just your followers.

To add the new Message button to your site, just head over to the Twitter Publish page. Scroll down and select the Twitter Buttons option.

Image Source: Danny Goodwin/Search Engine Journal

Image Source: Danny Goodwin/Search Engine Journal

From here, select the Message button option.

Image Source: Danny Goodwin/Search Engine Journal

Image Source: Danny Goodwin/Search Engine Journal

Input your Twitter user name and user ID (found in the “Your Twitter Data” section), and finally click Preview. This generates a code you can paste anywhere you want on your website. You can even customize the button to autofill messages, hide usernames, or select a default language.

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Image Source: Danny Goodwin/Search Engine Journal

The new button is just one of several ways you can use Twitter to provide customer service, answer questions, and keep people excited about your brand. Add it to your site now to find out what your customers have to say.

Source: Shawn Campbell

Source: Shawn Campbell

Twitter’s ad revenue and engagement may be going up, but Twitter’s advertising platform is struggling to maintain growth as they see fewer advertisers using their service to promote their content.

According to Twitter’s latest shareholder letter, ad revenue grew 18 percent year-over-year, reaching $535 million in Q2. Similarly, ad engagement shot up 226 percent and the cost per engagement dropped by 64 percent.

That’s the good news. The bad news is Twitter is “seeing a continuation of the trends discussed last quarter with less overall advertiser demand than expected. This is reflected in both our Q2 performance and Q3 outlook.

The social media giant says there are two reasons their number of advertisers is dwindling while earnings are growing:

First, there is increased competition for social marketing budgets, which requires us to continuously raise the quality bar on the advertising solutions we bring to market.

Second, while we have worked to drive higher ROI for advertisers (by leveraging our current user base, ad formats and innovations in targeting, creative and measurement), we’re still priced at a premium CPE relative to others. This has proven to be a headwind in growing Twitter’s share of overall social budgets and in our ability to grow faster in both video and performance advertising.

Ultimately, Twitter is going through growing pains and it is reflected by the loss of advertisers. While Twitter is charging more than most social platforms, it is struggling to maintain its active user base who have been largely unimpressed by newer features and changes to the interface on mobile and desktop.

Instead, advertisers are following users who are turning to platforms like Snapchat, which already has more active daily users than Twitter.

The company announced several new ideas to help recapture their audience’s attention and incentivize advertisers to use their service. Among them, it showed off a “new look and feel” to its marketing efforts that emphasize that Twitter is “where you go to see what’s happening everywhere in the world right now.”

Twitter is also heavily investing into live sports streaming with agreements to stream games from all the biggest sports leagues in the U.S., including the NFL, MLB, and NBA. The only question is if these decisions will reignite the spark that originally made Twitter one of the most popular social networks in the world.

Twitter Banner

Social media is one of the quickest and easiest ways for a customer to reach a business, which is why sites likes Twitter and Facebook are fast becoming de facto customer service platforms. Users expect to be able to reach a business and have their problems solved through social media and it is important for businesses to be available.

Twitter has recognized its power as a customer service platform and has been testing features to help customer’s take advantage of this. One such feature was released this week which shows users when brands and businesses are most likely to respond on Twitter.

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The new “most responsive feature” is starting to pop up on profile pages for pages like Apple Support, but also on brand pages like Medium’s profile on both desktop and mobile.

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Little is known about the feature since it was first spotted this morning. Twitter hasn’t said whether the feature is just a small test or if you can expect to see it spread in the coming weeks and there is no indication of whether businesses have any control over the listing.

Ultimately, the new feature is just a test to keep an eye on. Not only does it provide a potential way to improve customer interactions with brands, but it signals Twitter’s intentions to highlight the customer service potential of their platform. You can likely expect to see similar features and information for brands that offer customer service through Twitter in the future.

Twitter Banner

The magic number for Twitter appears to be 140. The social network built its platform around 140 character tweets, and now it is taking a similar approach with its video service by limiting videos to 140 seconds, according to a recent announcement.

Twitter has allowed users to share videos on its network since last year, but the videos have been limited to 30-seconds maximum until now. The only exception was for a select number of advertisers who could post videos up to 10 minutes long. Now, users are getting a taste of that creative freedom with videos that go slightly beyond 2 minutes long.

The change will also be having an impact on the Twitter-owned Vine, which is known for looping 6-second-long micro-videos. Now, Vines can be used to preview or promote twitter videos which can be viewed by clicking the new “Watch more” button.

According to the company’s announcement, video tweets have gone up by over 50% since the start of this year and these new changes will allow more flexibility for users.

Along with this news, Twitter also announced that iOS and Android users are getting a new viewing mode which shows Vines or Twitter videos in a full-screen mode along with suggested videos.

Source: Shawn Campbell

Source: Shawn Campbell

When Twitter’s algorithmic timelines started appearing as a test on the social media site, you would have thought they had announced users had to commit a sacrifice before posting. Angry memes were shared, many users threatened to leave the site, and the “end of Twitter” seemed to be on the horizon.

It turns out first impressions don’t always mean anything.

Despite the initial uproar, Twitter’s algorithmic timeline is actually going over well and will soon become the default for all users.

Slate reports Twitter has been gradually rolling out a default algorithmic timeline for users for weeks now, and the reception has been largely positive. According to a Twitter spokesperson quoted in the report, the percentage of users to opt-out of the new timeline has been in the “low single digits.”

This isn’t a case of users being slow to opt-out either. Data shows users are engaging with it more frequently in almost every way compared to the traditional chronologic timeline.  Users with the new timeline are tweeting, replying, retweeting, and favoriting more than ever.

Part of the warm reception may be related to how Twitter is handling the rollout. Instead of pushing out the change to everyone all at once, Twitter is gradually rolling it out and notifying every user individually as their timeline changes.

Users who dislike the new timeline can always opt-out and return to the traditional time-based timeline. All you have to do is go to the settings area and uncheck “Show me the best tweets first.”

While Twitter is changing some things up, another controversial move by the site appears to be on the backburner for now. During an appearance on the Today Show, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey stressed the site would be retaining its 140 character limit for Tweets.

During press appearances for the 10th anniversary of the platform, Dorsey clarified they would not be doing away with the character limit. He said, “It’s staying… It’s a good constraint for us, and it allows for of-the-moment brevity.”

Source: Shawn Campbell

Source: Shawn Campbell

Rumor has it that Twitter will be extending the character limit of Tweets from 140 characters to upwards of 10,000 characters. The news comes from a report in Recode, which cites multiple sources claiming the longer tweets should be expected by the end of the quarter, but public reaction is mixed at best.

Descriptions of the new feature say the longer tweets wouldn’t clutter up feeds. Instead, up to 140 characters of any tweet will appear in user’s timelines, but a new call to action would allow users to read more.

The sources also say the company is already planning for how users might attempt to spam timelines so they might be able to combat it. For example, there may be limits to the number of other users that can be mentioned in tweets.

Unfortunately for the company, response to the rumor has already been overwhelmingly negative. Many say the 140 character limit has been the defining feature of Twitter and without it there is little to distinguish the platform.

The hashtag #Twitter10k has already taken off as users both mock and lament the rumor. Here is just a sampling of what users are saying:

Given the reaction to the rumor, it is hard to predict whether Twitter will follow through or go back to the drawing board for the next big feature. The best indication will be if we start seeing tests for different character lengths in tweets in the coming month.