How to Use Extra Twitter Characters Responsibly

This past November Twitter elected to double its character limit from 140 to 280, despite a significant amount of protestation from its users. But as in many things, anger has given way to acceptance and adaptation, and the expanded character count has become a normal part of using Twitter. However, I’ve noticed that some people are not using the extra space for good – I don’t want to name names or point fingers, but certain high profile Twitter users have had their already poor or controversial content exacerbated by the extra room. Here are a few lessons on how to make sure that you’re using your extra characters responsibly.


With 280 characters come the possibility of complete sentences, proper punctuation, and even variable spacing for readability. Now, rather than using a to link to your content, one can experience the luxury of using a branded URL. An international brand can even consider replicating a sub-140 character tweet in another language. While the extra space makes it less necessary to make purposeful grammatical mistakes or use awkward acronyms, the real boon is that info that might have been buried in a tweet thread or behind a link can now be included in the parent tweet. This is especially useful when the news is a bit more nuanced than 140 characters allow, or when every additional piece of information is useful.


Do you really need ten 280 character tweets to say something? People aren’t on Twitter to read novels. They want to read a series of punchy, potentially funny and mostly unrelated sentences. Using multiple tweets for one statement was annoying at 140. The place to say something long has never been and never will be Twitter, tweetstorms and pictures of the Notes app be damned. If what you’re saying necessitates a paragraph, Facebook and LinkedIn are just an address bar away.


Just because you have the extra space doesn’t mean you the need extra space. Part of the appeal of Twitter is (or was) its constraints. Can you write something worth engaging within a tight space? Like with many creative endeavors, it is often the constraint that helps make something great. If something can still be said in less than 140 characters, then it is your duty to use the short version. Being brief and concise will only serve to create tweets that are both better written and more likely to be read. If your tweet isn’t interesting in the first few words and looks long, people will scroll past it without a second thought.

Remember, the essence of Twitter remains brevity. From quality branded content to ripe, farm-quality memes, most everything good is also short. The best way to use your extra characters well is to use them with care.

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