Twitter 280 Save the Day or Total Zero?

Twitter: Among the first globally adopted social networks and continues to profoundly impact elections and political movements, social trends, celebrities and athletes, connectedness between people and cultures. It is also one of the most promoted brands in the world. Despite all this fuel, Twitter stock, revenue and user growth (and investor patience) are running out of gas. Empty tanks with up to 500 Million tweets a day and nearly 200 billion annually - still can’t figure out how to make more money. 

Big league struggles as Facebook/Instagram and Youtube lead the media consumption and advertising revolution driven by imagery and video content (not text) paired with their science fiction-like ad capabilities. Sure Twitter has bits and pieces of features like the behemoths and text does remain significant, especially in ads. But years of technology/engineering leadership challenges have resulted in poor monetization capabilities. 

So does 280 characters save the day and bolster revenue? 

Case for 140 is strong. Instantly, at Twitter-speed, popular authors and pundits (King, Rowling, etc.) are fumed the decision, valid complaints as the short space is considered the most prominent point of differentiation. Many also believe the 140 count reduces the amount of bad content while adding novelty that keeps users coming back for more and operates at the warp speed of today’s nanosecond info age. All good things right?

Case for 280 is strong. Too few characters previously scared away many users and actually fostered lots of bad content - shorter is no guarantee of better. 140 wittier? Probably, but let’s what people do with 280. Spam and crowded timelines are a major problem that, combined 140 stunted user growth.  2 tweets can now be 1 - that’s got to help their algorithms make timelines more tolerable.

Overall, the verdict is still out and Twitter isn’t down for the count (get it?). We’re playing the long game where MUCH better ad infrastructure, more relevant timelines and access to different content could give Twitter a real chance to survive and thrive. In theory it’s not impossible…MAYBE 280 leads to better content because it’s easier to express and comprehend an idea with some more space. And MAYBE better content will make Twitter a more comfortable experience that attracts users and increases engagement. And MAYBE that leads to more revenue…m-a-y-b-e. 

Remember, we put a man on the moon so anything’s possible.

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Joseph Nolan is a Los Angeles-based marketing consultant and thought leader with over a decade at major brands in auto, ecommerce, lifestyle and fitness. Opinions are his own. Feedback and article ideas welcomed at joe@jonomkt.com. Learn more at jonomkt.com. 

 

joseph nolan

Marketing Mojoe, los angeles, ca 90403