Nothing stays the same. Today, Twitter made good on its December 2012 announcement to reduce character limits for some tweets—tweets that contain URLs will be reduced to 118 characters, 117 for https links. With only 140 characters to work with, which never seems enough, it sounds like a lot. However, the change represents a two-character drop per tweet from what you were previously able to send when a hyperlink was involved.
For those of you who like the technical side, the new limit is due to changes in Twitter’s t.co link wrapper. Twitter is essentially ”extending the maximum length of wrapped links from 20 to 22 characters for non-https URLs and from 21 to 23 characters for https URLs.” (Read Mashable’s article on the announcement.)
Why should you care? For several reasons:
- Are any of your tweets scheduled in advance? You may need look at your scheduled tweets to make sure they comply with the new limits.
- With fewer characters available, your message will need to be even more succinct. Is your content developer able to get the job done? If not, find a company that can deliver killer content no matter how tight the space.
- Do you have standards in place? If not, you’ll want to set up standards now for the proper format of future tweets to ensure they reflect your brand. With less room there will be an even greater temptation to use “U” instead of “you” and “R” instead of “are.” Where do you want the lines drawn for abbreviation and shortcuts? If your content becomes too informal, you may confuse your current and potential clients and harm your overall brand.
Keeping your content in social media short and sweet is being raised to an art form. Be sure you have the right “artist” on your team.