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3 ways PR pros can benefit from Twitter’s latest changes

by | May 27, 2016 | Public Relations, Twitter

Since its IPO in 2013, Twitter has been hounded by criticisms that it simply doesn’t know how to grow its user base or revenues.

So, in an effort to improve its product and become more widely consumed and digested, while also being wary of not alienating its vocal fanbase, Twitter on May 24 announced that some changes were in the offing.

The crux is this: attachments like photos or videos will no longer count as characters within a tweet, neither will @names when replying, and new tweets that begin with an @name will reach all your followers (whereas before you had to include a period beforehand if you wanted it to be seen by people other than those who follow both users).

Here’s how these changes should help you, the consummate PR professional:

  1. First, the obvious: more space to communicate means more space to communicate your point. No more slashing and burning your original and optimal drafts when you realize that the link you’re including, which is utterly crucial, is pushing your tweet past its limit. No longer will links take up 23 characters, no longer will you be held hostage by such unreasonable things ━ that space is now yours and yours alone.
  2. Whereas you may have felt restrained from including photos, videos, GIFs, etc. before, the fact that their addition will no longer tack on a bunch of characters means you’re free to include them. And more than just include them, you can build entire 140-character tweets around them, making digital media not just core to your overall campaigns, but core to spreading those campaigns to as many of the 310 million monthly active users that Twitter has as possible.
  3. By removing the need for the “.@” convention, and making it so that when you engage in conversations those tweets will reach all your followers, Twitter has made it easier for you to have richer and more transparent dialogue. Not only will your followers be privy to entire conversations, but they’ll see when you respond to specific users, showing just how responsive and empathetic you are. The opportunity here for scalable thought leadership is bigger than it might seem.

Surely not all change is good, especially when it comes to beloved communications platforms like Twitter, but with these alterations the San Francisco-based company looks to have got it right.

In a NYT piece, CEO Jack Dorsey put it aptly when he said that, when people try to cram their thoughts into a 140-character tweet, “then you’re just thinking a lot about Twitter instead of what you’re saying. We shouldn’t make you think about Twitter.”

Indeed, the success of your latest campaign is all that should matter.

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Marcus Kaulback
Marcus is a content creator and marketer with a focus on branding and communications.

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