Twitter Doubles Its Character Limit

12.06.2017 | Cameron Ficca

In case you missed it, on Nov. 7 2017, Twitter granted most of its users the ability to double the length of their tweets to 280 characters. Users had previously been limited to posts of 140 characters, challenging them to be concise in a way that wasn’t required on other social media platforms. For instance, Myspace and Facebook, two of the leading social media platforms at the time of Twitter’s launch in 2006, gave users the freedom to post without limitations. Now that tweet lengths have increased, it’ll be interesting to see how it affects daily users, including PR pros.

To quote William Shakespeare, “Brevity is the soul of wit” and based on this,140 characters should be more than enough space to compose a thought. As Laura Shubel noted in her PR Daily article, “Should you use all 280 characters?”, a shorter character limit typically helps generate better tweets. Shubel goes onto explain how the old Twitter, limited character space forced people to hone their writing skills to create succinct messages. Shorter tweets might take more time to draft, Shubel asserts, but the exercise can make people better writers.

With the 140-character limit, users often had to figure out how to fit a single thought into one tweet. To do this, they resorted to leaving out punctuation, intentionally misspelling or shortening words, and even incorporating the ever-growing list of text abbreviations to save precious characters. Witnessing users work around the limitation truly showed how innovative people could be with their syntax and punctuation.

Because of this change, PR pros may alter how they and their clients use Twitter. With double the characters, communicators will have much more room for flexibility and clarity. For journalists, tweets can now include more context, which potentially means fewer tweets. With more characters available, there is more room to include more hashtags and account “@ mentions.”  In fact, a few companies have already taken to the idea of 280 characters, some with a sense of humor. Here are some examples of brands maximizing this limit:

While users may have wanted something different (ahem, an edit button please), I think the update to 280 characters will be a less dramatic change than some users think. Although visually it may seem like word (or emoji) overload, overall it will help many people communicate in a clearer way.


Tags: , ,

Filed under: COMMUNIQUÉ PR, Execution, Media, Social media

Leave a Reply

Communication Strategies that Move Product. Sell Services. Grow Brands.

We are experts at harnessing PR to achieve business results. We are quick-study strategists who know how to get the job done. Learn more »


We are big believers in the power of strategic public relations to meet business goals. You could even say we wrote the book on it. Check it out »