Change or die: it’s a mantra we’ve all heard before. Your business needs to grow, evolve, mix things up. If you own a bakery, people are only going to like the same scones or rolls every morning for so long before you need to do something different: new coffee flavors, new types of bread, maybe full breakfasts. Change keeps existing customers interested and attracts new ones.
However, there is something to be said for essence: what makes a thing its thing. If your bakery is known for its currant scones – let’s say you call your bakery “Currant News and Breads” – and everyone loves them, then do you want to ditch those scones because some people have lost interest? Did those scones provide the foundation that made you unique and interesting?
So Twitter has announced on its blog that it is testing expanding tweets to 280 characters. In their words, “Trying to cram your thoughts into a Tweet – we’ve all been there, and it’s a pain.” I understand the rationale for helping users in a language other than English say more with more characters due to syntax and spelling. In their words, “Also, in all markets, when people don’t have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and actually have some to spare, we see more people Tweeting – which is awesome!”
I was at the SXSW in March 2007 when Twitter blew up. For the first two years, people, brands, and companies seemed to stutter-step and wondered how to use it. But, I immediately understood the genius and potential behind a message system limited by 140 characters. It was an instant message to the world and your connections. I saw the potential for sharing news and ideas, connecting with friends and business colleagues, promoting your services, and even connecting with brands. Its limitations were what made it great!
Less is more. Twitter is unique because it forces you to be concise. A person’s creativity really comes though with these restrictions. You can be witty, pithy, earnest, angry, sad, demonstrative. Hashtags and links, images, and name-dropping others expands that creativity. In short (pun intended), 140 characters is what makes Twitter unique. Losing that will ultimately hurt the Twitter brand, a brand that has struggled and thrived over the last ten years. Change is vital, but when change hurts one of the tenants of your brand (remember New Coke, everyone?), is it really worth it?
So, my tweet:
— Garth Moore (@garthmoore) September 27, 2017
Oh well, I can say it in two tweets anyway.