The New Twitter Features for 2016

Twitter turns 10 this year and with it comes an evolution beyond the simple 140-character limit. Over the past decade Twitter has made a name for itself as the ultimate shorthand platform known for brevity and stream of consciousness social media posts. However, the new twitter features added this year look to alter the way we use the social networking service.

In just the last few months, Twitter has added the ability for users to poll the community, share Periscope broadcasts natively in tweets, and even post animated gifs with the help of their GIF Search feature.

Twitter, whose creation predated the original iPhone, is making changes to allow the service to meet the demands of today’s heavy media-consumption user.

Beyond 140

The coming months will see the introduction of new Twitter features that will allow users to use more than the traditionally allotted 140-characters. The new Twitter features are set to affect:

Media Attachments – Attaching photos, gifs, videos, polls, and quotes will no longer count as characters toward your total.

Replies – When replying to a tweet @mentions will no longer count towards your character limit.

The Public Direct Tweet – Tweets beginning with an @mention will no longer broadcast privately to the user. Users will now have an option for the conversation to be seen broadly seen by your followers.

Retweeting and Quoting Yourself – The retweet button can now be used on your own posts. This will allow you to retweet or quote yourself to share an update or bring attention to a particularly good message you’ve had in the past.

What Does This Mean for Business?

These new Twitter features will increase the attractiveness of using Twitter for marketers looking to use the platform as an advertising vehicle. Advertisers can look forward to using eye-catching images or videos in their posts without losing character spaces desperately needed to compel the click-through conversion to an off-site destination.

The ability for marketers to utilize additional @mentions will make group discussions more straightforward because users no longer have to be overly concerned with their character limits.

Businesses can benefit from the additional space particularly when reaching out for customer support or outreach. The inherent risk coalesces in how products, services and social media users shift their usage potentially. This can cause an increase in signal-to-noise ratio as they flood the system attempting to take full advantage of being able to reach multiple users at once with the same messages or responses.

The self-retweet or quote button is particularly useful for marketers looking to bring focus to a past tweet which had seen some success or to bring an update to a previous message. The ability can be used in instances such as advertisers looking to amplify an announcement, the dev team giving updates on website downtime or loss in functionality, or even the social media team looking to celebrate yet another throwback Thursday.

Don’t Be Afraid of Change

Enduring change is paramount to the survival of any technology company, and Twitter is getting in front of users who may be demanding more of the service while keeping in the spirit of its initial purpose.

The changes outlined were far less severe than initial reports indicated, which hinted at a drastic increase to a 1000-character limit. Although the idea of expanded tweets is still up in the air, we could still see some more dramatic changes leading into 2017 at the pace that new Twitter features are being added this year.

Jeffrey To

Author Jeffrey To

Digital Marketing Specialist

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