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What Twitter’s New Character Limit Means For Marketers

For everyone who has ever felt as if Twitter’s character limit is too limiting, rejoice! The platform is planning to double the number of characters you can tweet to 240. For some (particularly the verbose), this is a welcome change. For others, well…not so much.

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But why the change & what does it mean for marketers?

Twitter’s Product Manager & Senior Software Engineer answer the former question on the company’s blog, writing that raising the character ceiling is an attempt to alleviate the “pain” you experience when “[t]rying to cram your thoughts into a Tweet”. Fair enough. Waiting in line at my local cafe for my daily IV of espresso, I every so often think of a bon mot that, because of the 140 character limit, I end up having to chisel at to avoid exceeding said ceiling. It’s annoying if not time-consuming, yet it’s exactly the kind of D-R-A-M-A I signed up for when I became a digital marketer.

But this “isn’t a problem everywhere people Tweet”. BuzzFeed Japan editor Daisuke Furuta points out that a 280 character limit is already more or less “how Twitter is in Japan,” considering that the Japanese language can pack more information into a single character qua “logogram” than English (among other languages). Furuta likens the efficiency of using logograms to that of emojis, which allow one to communicate “eggplant” or “balloon” in a single character. (Unfortunately, there’s no emoji yet that comes close to conveying to a friend from high school with whom I haven’t talked in years that I have no interest whatsoever in attending her bachelorette party, let alone in carrying on any conversation with her.)

Despite Twitter’s official explanation, there is speculation that the decision stems from a motive other than generosity or fairness, namely, that of a financial nature. Really, the change is probably a strategic attempt at attracting new users to a platform investors have not been kind to given that its user growth has more or less stalled out. But whatever Twitter’s “real” motivations may be, change is coming, & marketers like myself need to start thinking about & preparing for what it will mean to live in a world with a 280 character limit.

Some in the industry have expressed concern that the move could yield “a ‘use it because we have it’ mentality,” which could lead to more diluted brand messages. (To say more than one needs to is just a waste of time for both content creators & the readers of their work.) Barring an increase in the time an “average” user spends on the platform (or in her reading speed), an uptick in wordier tweets means that less tweets will cross the eyeballs of such a user. A more cynical (if not fantastical) imagination can easily dream up a “race to the bottom” of verbosity in which brands defer to bloat by default so as to crowd out the competition in a person’s feed. It would be the digital form of the “gift” from hell that is manspreading, in other words. And absolutely nobody worth knowing wants that.

To be sure, Twitter isn’t forcing anyone to to hit the character limit whenever they tweet. But some marketers worry that brand managers (for one) will pressure them to reach the new limit (“Umm can we get some more hashtags & emojis in there? K thanks!”), & that such a push might dampen a marketer’s average output. It will take more energy, time, &, of course, money to produce just as many tweets if one deems reaching the character limit the goal. There are always limits to our resources, & a more long-winded Twitter could mean a serious shift in the way businesses divvy up marketing budgets (which on average dedicate about 20% to social media). However marketers end up adjusting financially, some have deduced from current planetary alignments that a weightier work burden is almost definitely on the way.

But to all those who worry—be they marketers or not—that lengthier tweets will lead to the death of Twitter culture as many know it, Furuta replies that in Japan, there are “just as many hilarious memes, weird Twitter subcultures, and massive cultural moments based on tweets as” there are in America. Things are A-OK “in the long-tweet future,” Furuta writes. “You’ll love it, or at least you’ll only hate it as much as you hate Twitter already.”

Indeed, regardless of how much you can say in a single tweet, it’s what you say & how you say it that is still of the utmost importance. To put it another way, quality still outshines quantity. As copywriter Chris Sugrue writes, “A lesson here is that whether users are writing in bursts of 140, 280 or 10,000 characters, it will still take fresh ideas and compelling links and CTAs to get people clicking.” It’s a lesson we should all consider as a new frontier of tweeting lies just ahead.

@ me,
Krissi

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Kill the Millennial—The Term, That Is

Despite the many “think-pieces” you may have read that suppose as much, millennials are not homogenous. We don’t obsess en masse over houseplants & nostalgia (though I think it’s safe to assume that we all hate student loan debt). In fact, we’re actually rather diverse, each one of us with our own beliefs, demands, & tastes that only sometimes overlap, which, yes, is the case for, like, everyone.

 

But I belabor the obvious because many in my profession still don’t get it . From what I’ve seen, a lot of marketers continue to treat millennials as if we’re a monolith. They pander to our assumed interest in memes, social justice advocacy, the 90s, & …”chillin,” I guess, hoping that with the right emoji, we’ll flock to their brand.

 

The reality is: many millennials are too smart to fall for such ploys. A lot care less about your brand per se & more about its design, for instance, or its story; really, they care about your brand’s personality. And some personalities aren’t for everyone.

 

If marketers want to reach millennials, they should drop the term “millennial” altogether. (If we’re being consistent, the same goes for “Baby Boomers” & “Gen Xers.”) Its meaning is vague, its scope – too inclusive. It’s an unacceptable answer to the question of who your target audience is—that is, the people who, when they come across your brand, might “like” its personality.

 

Recent college graduates probably don’t care about the same things as 30-something parents do, yet members of both groups are technically “millennials”; avid Game of Thrones fans aren’t necessarily going to get along with enthusiastic gym goers even if 1) they all happened to be “millennials” & 2) they all agreed that Tyrion is hands down the best character.

 

To summarize: Not all millennials are the same. Repeat that to yourself. Make it your mantra. Write it down & put it somewhere prominent. Tattoo it on your forehead. Spray paint it on your garage. Name your dog after it. I don’t care how you need to go about committing it to memory. Just don’t forget to remember it. (#notallmillennials)

 

So, the next time you feel like generalizing about 75 million people, stop yourself & instead, try to get more specific with whom you want to target. Are they career-oriented women in their early 30s who don’t know how to cook? Or are they amateaur yogis & earnest environmentalists who frequent Whole Foods? You need to be explicit if you want to craft a creative campaign that appeals to whom you want it to. If you try catering to everyone, you’ll end up interesting no one. But if you put in the work to tailor your messaging, then you may very well reach your next customer, millennial or not.

Thanks So Much,
Krissi Madison | Director of Likes

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Sweeten Up Your Life!

Being on social media constantly allows me to stumble upon the coolest and weirdest gadgets. Honestly, sometimes it’s very 0-100.

 

I happened to come across this sweet (pun intended) product by Xochico and I regret nothing!

Sweeten up your life a little… or at least your car game and check out these deliciously awesome Pan Dulce fuzzy mirror hangers!!

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^JUST LOOK AT THEM!!

Xochico is a small, growing business located in California and they take pride in creating products that reflect the Hispanic culture. Here at Blonde we’re trying to figure out ways to maintain (or start) our diet, and since real Pan Dulce isn’t quite listed on the “Healthy List” then we can settle for these mirror hangers to at least admire on a daily basis.

 

So do yourself a favor, sweeten up your car and buy yourself some Concha mirror hangers then immediately head down to the Panaderia to get you some real ones! YOU. ARE. WELCOME.

Time to get back to work!

Krissi Madison | Director of Likes

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“Are You Still Watching?” is a Challenge From Netlix That You Should Accept

If you’re anything like me, you like to wind down on the weekend with some wine & Netflix after a long week of [hash]tagging, liking, commenting, posting, stalking, and so on (or: after whatever it is you do for a living).

 
But even social media mavens like me need to take some time off from constant app-switching, though we rarely (if ever) unplug; hence, House of Cards and, of course, mama’s Chablis.

 
Yet your preferred streaming service’s content offerings can be more than just a means to escape the sometimes cruel realities of life (like the fact that organic Facebook reach will eventually reach zero); they can be a source of creative inspiration. The very best of film & TV can be compelling for a variety of reasons. They can feature complex characters, for example, or employ beautiful cinematography.

 
Whatever the reason, one could argue that what great shows & films all share is damn good storytelling. (That’s also what the very best of advertising does: tell a good story.) Below are a few good stories to watch when you’ve given up on learning how to play the guitar in your spare time but when you’re still in the mood to be creatively stimulated.

 
Twin Peaks — Seasons 1-2 & The Return (Available on Netflix, Hulu, & Showtime)

 
Weird doesn’t even begin to adequately describe this cult classic about one FBI agent’s quest to solve the murder of Laura Palmer. You’ll eventually find out the answer (to the chagrin of creators David Lynch & Mark Frost whose hands were forced by network executives to reveal the killer) but so many more mysteries abound in the seeming idyll that is Twin Peaks. It’s not a stretch to say that modern “prestige” TV—from The Sopranos to Lost to True Detective—owes a rather large debt of gratitude to this cryptic whodunit for being the first to make TV a little darker and thus, a little more entertaining.

Abstract: The Art of Design (Available on Netflix)

 
From architecture to stage production to sneaker design, this 6-part mini-series profiles individual artists who have and continue to extend the boundaries of possibility within their respective fields. Once you’re done watching this, you won’t be able to help but ask, “What am I doing with my life?” It’s a question we should all ask ourselves every now and again.

Sunset Boulevard (Available on Netflix)

 
Considered one of the greatest films of all time, director Billy Wilder’s “masterpiece” has collected no dust (unlike its main character) since its 1950 debut; this critique of Hollywood is still as gripping and relevant as ever even though the industry has changed quite a bit since (cf. the YouTube star phenomenon). But don’t take my words for it. Watch it (and my other recommendations) if you care to. Just maybe you’ll start thinking a little differently the next time you face one of life’s many creative challenges.

Happy Binging!
Krissi Madison | Director of Likes

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Office Space for Houston Creatives

To the great people of Houston:

First, let me say that you are all in the thoughts of everyone here. We love Houston, and believe that y’all will get through these tough times.

 

That said, we would like to do a little more than just hope for the best; we want to help. That’s why we’re opening up our space to whatever creative advertising or marketing firm that needs some temporary office space. Really, we want to welcome you to your neighbors in San Antonio!

 
Our office is located just a few minutes north of downtown on the edge of a beautiful historic neighborhood. We have a few desks, a conference table, a kitchen (with coffee and beer for when you get “stuck” ), and more space and outlets than you’ll find at a coffee shop. (It’s cheaper too, and the people here are much more interesting.) And:

 
Interested? Then contact owner and Creative Director louis at 210-527-1234 or louis@blondecreative.com. At the very least, we hope you stay safe, strong, and awesome, Houston.

 
Krissi Madison | Director of Likes

P.S. Please see below for photos of office. We’re not like a regular office, we’re a cool office

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