Sunday, 18 October 2015

Week of Women: If Twitter extends its word count, what will it mean for PR?

Hello Lovelies!

Today's post is written by Holly Worsley, another PR colleague and friend, who impressed us all in 1st year because she'd actually worked in a PR firm before (oooooh!) She's a brainy little so-and-so, and I couldn't wait to read her post on social media platform, Twitter.

Hope you all enjoy!

If Twitter extends its 140 character limit, what will it mean for PR?

The 140 character limit imposed on tweets is one of Twitter’s biggest trade marks. No other mainstream social media site has such restrictions on content and it’s one of the reasons it sets it apart from other competitors like Facebook.

But with this unique character limitation comes problems. For example, it can be difficult to convey messages as the user may have to condense characters and sentences to fit the limit as well as the problem with how different languages use more characters per word making forming sentences harder.

Twitter is no stranger to experimenting with changing their site. Only recently did it add an update where you could retweet an article and add comments giving the user more room to share their opinions with the rest of the Twitter community. They also took away the character limitation on direct messages.

With a society that now relies on constant updates to improve services, Twitter is trying to stay ahead of the game and keep shaking things up to stay fresh and relevant.

Some people disagree with the suggested changes however and the hash tag #standwith140 has already started circulating to petition against the possible changes.
But from a PR perspective, is this potential change a good or bad thing?

When writing tweets I always dread the minus red icon figure at the bottom where it says I’ve gone over the limit. I’ve got my message just right and now I’ll need to spend time cutting words out and changing it up to fit and make sense.

As annoying as this is however I still think the limit is a good thing and shouldn’t be changed. This is because it keeps messages short and sweet; keeping the audience interested and more likely to read and be engaged.

If long sentences or even paragraphs were to be introduced, the effectiveness of the message you originally wanted to convey could get lost.

Famous quotes like “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” by Winston Churchill and “Creativity is contagious, pass it on.” by Albert Einstein are effective as messages as they are short, to the point, easily understood and would fit within 140 characters, whereas longer messages like a government policy wouldn’t fit and their message would be harder to understand and be communicated, especially via social media. Having a limit forces you to think about what to write, what’s most important and how it will come across to your audience.

Due to technological advancements the PR industry is always changing and social media is no different.

But if longer characters tweets are introduced will Twitter still be unique? And more importantly, will users still be active in reading and sharing longer messages?

Thank you to Joanna and all of the other contributors! Keep reading! 

Holly Worsley 

2nd Year Public Relations
Edge Hill University 

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