Three ways journalists can use Twitter with 280 characters

Twitter has doubled the number of characters users can use in a single post, from 140 to 280, and this is good news for journalists.

Some have complained that the change will ruin the micro-blogging site because its attraction lies in the brevity of posts.

Author JK Rowling Tweeted: “Twitter’s destroyed its USP. The whole point, for me, was how inventive people could be within that concise framework.”

I was of the same opinion, at first.

67069416 - news conference. journalism.
67069416 – news conference. journalism.

When I thought about it more, there are some very obvious advantages for journalists using the new Twitter limit of 280 characters.

Here are three of them:

1 More detail can be posted about breaking stories

With 140 characters, reporters were limited as to how they could report news but the increased limit allows all the salient information to be included in a single Tweet instead of a series of two or three.

It is also a boost for court reporters and sports writers because it enables them to post bigger chunks of detail when they are live tweeting from hearings and matches, respectively.

2 Posts about news stories can be made more searchable

The extra characters allow the use of more hashtags to make individual posts easier to find by those who may not follow a journalist or media organisation.

I would advise limiting hashtags to no more than three, though, to avoid making posts dull and unreadable.

57865539 - news update journalism headline media concept

3 Extra information can be posted with a link to a news story

When Twitter removed the characters for photos and videos from the overall character limit it made a huge difference to the content users could post.

Increasing the limit to 280 effectively makes it easier to post links to stories since it does not eat so much into the number of words which can now be used.


Are there any further advantages you feel journalists can benefit from the raising of the Twitter character limit? Please feel free to comment below.


I devote a chapter to how journalists can best harness the power of Twitter in my book How to Become A Journalist which is available to buy on Amazon as a paperback or Kindle.

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