Just because you can doesn’t mean you should

Last night, Twitter rolled out 280 characters for all users, doubling their previous 140-character limit. Twitter Product Manager Aliza Rosen explained the decision stemmed from data suggesting Twitter users frequently abandoned posts before hitting the "tweet" button because they were over 140 characters.

We won’t know for a while if this was a smart business move for Twitter, but social media managers across the country are no doubt re-evaluating their existing strategies. While the news is undoubtedly welcomed by the digital pros who have become so accustomed to butchering acceptable sentence structure, I borrow a phrase from Ethics 101: "Just because you can, doesn't mean you should."

Social media managers should look no further than Facebook for proof that less is more. Facebook allows upwards of 63,000 characters. Despite the near limitless opportunity for soliloquy, studies show the ideal length of a Facebook post is a mere 40 characters.

Most social media pros know average users suffer from newsfeed blindness, the constant-scroll habit during which they only pause for the people and brands that interest them or for imagery that catches their eye. Yes, the change means we can stop using ampersands and replacing “for” with the number 4, but beyond that it should be business as usual.

 

- 30 -