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Keeping It Short Still Reigns Supreme on Twitter Blog Feature

November 1st, 2018 min read

This week marks one year since Twitter shocked everyone with their decision to expand the Tweet character limit to 280.

It was news that left many of us scratching our heads and feeling like it went against everything Twitter, and we loyal users, stood for.

Well, interestingly enough, despite the increase, it seems most of us haven’t changed our tweeting habits.

After a year of giving people more characters to say what they have to say, it appears that people didn’t really have anymore to say. Just this week, Twitter released some interesting usage data showing this and many other trends.

By the Numbers: Twitter Usage in 2018

So, here’s what the data says…

  1. Approximately 1% of tweets are reaching the 280 character limit.

  2. Only 12% of tweets are surpassing the previous 140 character limit (historically, that number was 9%).

  3. Approximately 5% of tweets are longer than 190 characters.

  4. When data across all languages was reviewed it showed that 6% of all tweets are longer than the 140 characters allowed just a year ago.

This clearly shows that while we’ve been given the freedom to tweet until our hearts desire (or we reach the 280 character limit), few really see a need to.

Brevity Still Reigns

The draw of Twitter, initially, was the ability to post quickly, frequently, and in short bursts.

It appealed to the masses for these reasons. It gave us access real-time to news, celebrities, friends, and a plethora of other information in a bite-sized format conducive to our busy, on-the-go lives.

We were connected in 140 short characters, and that appeal doesn’t seem to have changed.

Some other interesting trends did seem to arise from the shift to 280 characters, however.

The first trend is one that me and my fellow grammar nerds couldn’t be happier about!

Decrease in the Use of Abbreviations

More Polite Interactions

Another notable trend is that with more characters, people are being much more polite.

I think we can all agree that this trend is one we can all be happy about!

What Does This Mean For Brands and Marketers?

The obvious takeaway is that keeping it short is still appreciated.

People clearly still view Twitter as a place to get information without having to spend a lot of time reading and digesting text. So, basically, we should keep getting to the point… in fewer characters.

The decrease in abbreviations is something to keep in mind as well.

With the extra characters available, you have the ability to maintain your shorter message without looking silly using excessive abbreviations. It doesn’t hurt to keep your overall message to the 140 character limit and going over by a few characters for the sake of good grammar.

And lastly, the increased use of please and thank you should be noted by brands.

All brands want to be viewed in a positive light, and what better way to do so than with simple manners? Even nicer is that your customers are likely using those manners more now too. Which means your brand has a greater opportunity to build a really nice community to be a part of!

As marketers, data is a driving force in our decisions on a daily basis. We are constantly determining the best practices and approaches for everything we do, based on the data available to us.

Luckily, Twitter has helped make that easier for us.

Twitter has always been a platform of great interest to marketers and knowing the best way to engage that audience is something we are always looking for more insight into. We certainly got more of that with this data.

Personally, I am happy to see this news. Apparently my desire to stick to the 140 character limit is something felt by the majority of the Twitterverse. #Affirmation.

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