In case you missed it, a certain corner of the social media world experienced an influx of joy, celebratory actions and a splash of a surprise this week when Twitter announced changes to the way we will tweet.
— Twitter (@twitter) May 24, 2016
When news of new ways around Twitter’s 140-character limit were announced, people rejoiced, screamed emphatically, and waved their hands in a similar manner as if they didn’t care. The soon-to-be technical structure of a tweet is something many of us, especially in the world of marketing, have been requesting for years now. Elements such as the ability to not worry about a person’s handle, new methods of retweeting and not needing to worry about the URL of a picture or a link in a reply is a boon to the Twitterverse. However, it would behoove us all, especially us marketers, to remember to heed the words once spoken by Ben Parker, “…with great power comes great responsibility.”
The majority of the power that I am referring to here can be found at the beginning of the extended tweet structure above. As you can see, the 140-character count is now considered in the space after a user’s Twitter handle(s) and before a link whether that URL is an image, GIF or link to a web page. This new extension allows for up to 50 autopopulated handles to be mentioned in an individual tweet.
The potential issue here is a simple one: SPAM. Think about how a tweet with 50 people in it would look. It would be inadvisable, to say the least, to tweet to that many people, especially unsolicited, at once just because you can. There are certain rules of engagement in social media that must be followed and they include following regular social cues in order to hold a conversation with people and not jumping into conversations that you weren’t invited to. And speaking of that…
Twitter has also dropped the worst kept secret hack on the platform, the “.@” convention. Replies are now broadcast automatically instead of only to those who follow both you and the person to whom you are replying. Once again, we’ve reached another point where we as marketers can show that we know how to use Twitter responsibly.
The spirit of the initial change that resulted in the .@ convention was one that focused that focused conversations like that on the parties in the conversation. It provided a small layer of protection for the people conversing as well as cleared other users’ streams of conversations. To quell the justified fears of people jumping into conversations to which they have not been invited, we can simply not jump into conversations wherein we have not been invited.
As a whole, the changes that are due to appear from the blue bird are beneficial to users and that is something that we should all be happy about. With that being said, we must remember all that we should do in order to make Twitter a place those who connect with us want to be. Showing our worth in that way makes everything better.