As precisely nobody in social media world will have failed to notice, Twitter announced this week that it would be rolling out an experiment that doubles the character limit from 140 to 280. There were a variety of responses, not least this series of tweets showing exactly how brightly – and sarcastically – the Twitterati can shine (as occasional copywriters ourselves, this struck a particular chord).
Responses have been far from universally approving, however. Many users raised questions about the platform’s priorities, especially in the current climate of trolls and division. Considering the time and resource that went into giving communications professionals twice the amount of copy to come up with (we jest, more on that shortly), commentators have questioned whether this could have been spent elsewhere. Suggestions have included strengthening Twitter’s anti-harassment measures, making it easier to block abusive accounts, or confirming whether threats of nuclear war don’t constitute a violation of T&Cs.
The move is limited to a select few accounts at present, and was focused on allowing English-language tweeters to be as verbose as their Japanese or Chinese counterparts. For the moment, there will be very little impact on how companies communicate, but we think that digital communications teams should avoid the temptation to expand unnecessarily to the full 280 characters when the opportunity arises – brevity remains the soul of wit.
Everyone’s favourite flat-pack furniture and meatball purveyor (for me, dear reader, still not comfortable bedfellows) IKEA have purchased gig economy platform TaskRabbit in what it says is a move to diversify offering, increase flexibility, and develop faster.
The move also place IKEA into the fraught world of Uber, Deliveroo, and many other quasi-employers facing increasing heat for their fluid legal relationships with workers, which will be an interesting challenge for a company currently enjoying high consumer trust scores.
Like Unilever with Dollar Shave Club, Google and Deepmind, and most recently Ford’s decision to integrate Alexa into their new models, often acquisition is the quickest route to digital innovation. A 2016 EY report found that 67% of executives saw M&A as the most efficient way of delivering meaningful change. With these moves, however, come significant communications challenges: investors need to be convinced of value, regulators calmed over market consolidation, customers told that any change will be positive, and most importantly that internal integration will suit all employees.
KEYBOARD WARRIORS TO DOORSTEP ARMY
With European machinations rumbling on over the channel, in domestic political news conference season is well and truly afoot (for more information on the headlines from Brighton see this excellent note from our colleague Laura Sainsbury).
From our perspective, one of the most interesting developments is the role that technology is playing in mobilising and informing activists. Momentum, the youthful, idealistic Marmite of the current UK political scene has put digital communications at the heart of their activity ever since their inception, and continued in and around conference this year. They’ve used M.app to alert members to timings for hot-button votes, as well as sending push notifications for Momentum-run events and linking up like-minded Momentum members (Momembers?).
M.app is the latest in a series of initiatives in Momentum’s digital toolbox (staffed by 170 volunteers), and arguably the most advanced. It follows on from My Nearest Marginal, a site which identified the narrowest Conservative majorities near prospective campaigners in the general election, and the ongoing #unseat campaign. With similar platforms like NationBuilder being used by campaigns as varied as Obama ‘08, Trump ’16, the Brexit Leave campaign and Emmanuel Macron, (not to mention Field the Bern) organisations may finally be able to turn social dominance into real-world advocacy.
ALSO THIS WEEK
- This Twitter hack allows anyone to tweet with 280 characters now [TELEGRAPH]
- Social media terms ‘jargon-busted’ for teens [BBC]
- The FT warns advertisers after discovering high levels of domain spoofing [Digi Day]
- Anonymous messenger app tbh only allows compliments [TECH CRUNCH]