Twitter recently introduced the ability to use line breaks in tweets, viewable in both the mobile app and web interface, but not supported when embedded in a website. Each line break in a tweet constitutes one of the 140-characters, the limit allotted for a message on the social network.
Although some are heralding the introduction of line breaks to twitter as the feature that will bring about its ultimate demise, there is much that can be said for how line breaks can positively shape the twitter experience, for general users and marketers alike.
Yes, excessive use of the line break feature would be annoying, and I think most seasoned users realize this. After all, one of best things about twitter as a platform is to deliver information in a very condensed format that is easy to consume. Frequent, obnoxious use of line breaks will lead to unfollows. However, if sparingly used in an intelligent, creative manner, it has potential to be a fun and effective marketing tactic.
Ideas of how to use the twitter line breaks to stand out
- Highlighting the users mentioned in your tweets
- Focus attention on specific parts of your message
- Make the most important tweets in your stream stand out
- Tweet poetry with proper line breaks and formatting (Twitter haikus!)
- Separate hashtags from the rest of your message
- Seperate links from the rest of your message
- ASCII art
- Keep your comments separate from the original, ReTweeted content
- Enhance the spatial flow of your tweets to make them aesthetically pleasing or easier to read
Example: General Electric uses line breaks on Pi Day
Twitter announced line breaks the morning of Pi Day (3/14), and General Electric was quick to experiment with the feature, posting a Pi Day related post with line breaks. The post was very effective and yielded a whopping 194 ReTweets. Although much of the tweet’s success is likely attributable to the early adoption of the feature, it still opens up a world of opportunity of creative applications that I suspect we will see in due time and that will help brand stand out.
Reinforcing a word of caution: use with discretion
I stand by my position that twitter’s line break functionality is positive addition to the network’s feature set, and that the benefits out way the costs. The feature gives ample opportunity for your message to stand out in the sea information that is Twitter. There will be some that abuse line breaks and those who don’t. Those who abuse the line break feature will be unfollowed and blocked. It is therefore recommended that line breaks be used tastefully in order to not annoy your audience, and if utilized appropriately, can energize your tweeting strategy.
What do you think? Will line breaks destroy Twitter, or will it provide a means of using it more creatively? Do you have any other ideas of how line breaks can be used to help your tweets stand out? Let me know your opinion in the comments below.