A STORM IS BREWING

A STORM IS BREWING

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Twitter: a place we go to connect with people, join conversations, spark debate, promote business and, perhaps most importantly to a recreational user, to express ourselves. But, broadcasting your daily short burst messages to the world can be tricky – particularly if you have a lot to say.

140 characters has historically been the limit, which was introduced upon the launch of Twitter in 2006 to keep feeds scan-friendly. The size cap – which accelerated the microblogging platform’s popularity in the early days – forced users to use clever and purposeful language. Although ideal for an audience with a short attention span, cramming engaging and inspiring content into one or two sentences is a challenge, even for the most experienced writer.

In a blog post on 7 November, Twitter’s product manager Aliza Rosen announced that after two months of testing, a 280-character limit had been rolled out universally across the platform and said the expansion would mean every person around the world could express himself or herself more easily in a tweet. But the bid to develop Twitter’s accessibility and appeal doesn’t stop there…

Shortly after the character count announcement, Twitter hinted that it is testing a new feature to allow “tweetstorms” to be easily created – a concept made popular by non other than President Donald Trump, although he firmly denies the use of them. Tweetstorms are defined as a series of related tweets posted in quick succession – unfortunately, this often crops up in the form of a rant or barrage of opinionated messages, particularly where Mr Trump is concerned. You may be familiar with some of his outbursts about Obama, Hilary Clinton, the Democrats, Kim Jong Un, fake news…and the list goes on.

So, how will the feature help? You’ll be able to compose the individual tweet entries one-by-one, view them in order and then publish them in sequence with the press of a ‘Tweet all’ button. Although not officially confirmed, this wouldn’t be the first time Twitter has utilised user behavior to develop certified features. The hashtag, @reply and retweet (RT) were all born out of monitored user patterns and grown organically within the platform.

It is yet to be seen if the feature will be welcomed but, with the expansion of the character limit preceding it, there are already concerns that tweetstorms will clutter our timelines and encourage even more spam. Although it aims to make communicating complex ideas to big audiences simpler, there is a real risk that it will be overused by those who just want to propagandise our social feeds – and that’s not beneficial to anyone.

Are you a Twitter whizz? We’re always on the look out for our next star, so drop us a line at [email protected].