What is Twitter’s new “threads” feature?

You may have noticed recently that tweets have gotten longer. Gone are the days when your upper limit of 140 characters would have produced all kinds of vowel-free words or spaceless sentences. Today, the social media giant that once boasted of the importance of its succinctness has made it much easier to be verbose. Last year, Twitter announced that it was doubling its character limit to 280. And then in December 2017, it emerged that it was about to go even further.

Twitter’s new “threads” feature

Just in case 280 characters isn’t enough to contain your messaging, you now have the opportunity to write even longer posts thanks to Twitter “threads.” This feature is very simple – it just joins together a series of tweets so that they can be read as one. Twitter itself isn’t the first to innovate this, as you’ve probably seen users doing this for some time, using “1/x,” “2/x” etc to indicate a successive series of tweets.

How do you use Twitter threads?

It’s very simple – just look for the “+” button. If you realise you’re running out of space with your current tweet then the plus sign will enable you to link this to the next one and you can just keep on posting. If you’re browsing the tweets of others and curious to see who is already using this then just look for “show this thread” and it will open up the entire Twitter thread to read. It’s worth noting that Twitter hasn’t just launched this for new tweets – you can also go back and add to older tweets too.

Why the obsession with longer tweets?

There may have been a time when online and social content was all about saying what you had to say in the least number of characters possible – but those days are gone. Now, there is a widespread admission that longer posts tend to do more, whether we’re talking blogs or social media posts. Buzzfeed carried out its own research with respect to Twitter and found that those tweets that were already making use of the increased character limit were more successful as a result. The maths is simple – Buzzfeed found that tweets with more than 140 characters on average receive more likes and retweets than those that use less than 140 characters. In terms of proof of concept, it’s quite difficult to argue with that.

Why might you consider Twitter threads?

• If you’ve been frustrated by the curtailment of your messaging as a result of Twitter’s various length limits (although bear in mind that 20 is probably the maximum optimum number of posts for a Twitter thread)
• If you’re keen to see an uptick in engagement with your Twitter account
• If you’re looking to expand your Twitter strategy into topics that require more explanation
• If you just love a bandwagon and want to jump on this new trend

At Iconic Digital we’ve already seen some success from those experimenting with Twitter threads. It seems that the days of mini-posts are over so, while content should still be focused and concise, it no longer needs to be cut short.

Written by Steve Pailthorpe @ Iconic Digital. Read more of Steve’s articles here.

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