William Shakespeare once said “brevity is the soul of wit.”
Since 2006, Twitter has stood out from other social networks, living by Shakespeare’s maxim through its requirement that users ‘keep it short’ with tweets of no more than 140 characters. Twitter’s current character limit actually dates back to parallel the limits of SMS text messages, and the social network quickly became known as a forum for short, quick thoughts for fast-paced online conversation.
Despite repeated calls for the company to raise the character limit over the past decade, Twitter resisted. Until now.
The media is widely reporting that Twitter is preparing to exponentially increase its character limit toward the end of the first quarter.
So, if your tweets are freed from the old limit and can be up to 10,000 characters, should you start penning longer tweets for your brand? We think not! After all, would you tweet the Declaration of Independence? At 8,020 characters, you could tweet that missive to your followers under the new rules, but why would you? Got a longer-form viewpoint on your industry? Link to a blog post and send your followers to your website!
Here are a few more reasons to keep your tweets tight:
- Re/Code has reported that tweets with more than 140 characters will not appear in their entirety in users’ timelines. Followers will have to expand the text box to read the whole tweet, which is likely to limit the audience seeing the entire super-sized tweet as you wrote it.
- Analytics have consistently shown that shorter tweets generate better engagement. In fact, even with a 140-character limit, studies have shown that tweets with 100 characters or less enjoy a 17 percent higher engagement rate. With engagement levels falling as the tweet approaches 140 characters, why would you make yours any longer?
- With many users likely to take advantage of the latest fad of longer tweets, a piece of pithy prose will be poised to stand out to your Twitter followers even more than they already do. Take advantage of other people turning their tweet into a treatise by keeping yours short!
Shakespeare lived before the age of social media, but he certainly knew the importance of concise writing to hook his audience. Twitter may be giving you substantial breathing room to publish your message in a tweet, but don’t forget the benefits of brevity!