Conner GalwayRemember last year, when it seemed that everyone was talking about how Twitter had become the nearly-forgotten channel in the social media space? The past few weeks may have thrown that slide for a loop.

It seems that every day that we open our computers, there is another story about what they’re up to and how it’s going to rejuvenate the lagging network.

This week’s Social Update is all about the little blue bird, how it has the tech blogs buzzing, and the next few months that may shoot it back into the mainstream:


Another well overdue announcement came out, Jack Dorsey (one of Twitter’s founders), has been serving as Twitter’s interim CEO was officially christened as the new full CEO. That’s important because he has some very strong ideas about the direction of the company that the hasn’t been able to fully act on until now. Clear direction is what Twitter needs right now more than anything.
Image source:
Image source:

Jack has always believed that Twitter should be about what’s happening in the world, rather than what you’re up to, which may seem like a small shift, but it has a significant impact on the features and updates that we’re going to see in the future. Example: Should they add Reactions, the way Facebook did? Or, make it easier to create collaborative Stories, the way Snapchat is killing it right now?

Wall Street seemed to believe that Jack’s announcement was a big deal, lifting the stock price by over 10% in the days following (it’s slumped a bit since then, but still remains above the pre-Jack levels).

Evolution of the 140 Character Tweet

The headlines have all been claiming that Twitter is ditching its 140 character limit but, in fact, the opposite is true. Twitter is bringing us back to the early days of micro-blogging, when our micro-messages had to be creatively crafted to fit within the 140 character restriction.

Over the past 5 years, the Tweet has evolved. It started when we started adding hashtags, mentions, then Twitter allowed links, embeddable images and finally videos. Each of those things makes for a livelier and richer tweet, but each of them also eats up valuable character-real estate. The result has been that instead of 140 characters, we’ve been forced to cram out thoughts into less than 100, sometimes even 80 characters. The struggle is so real that Twitter is sending help – it seems that images, mentions and possibly even hashtags are no longer going to count towards the limit, and we’ll be liberated back to our full 140 characters. The move may actually draw a lot of people back, because we’ll have more ability to write a full thought, rather than the single-soundbite format that we’ve gotten to.


First, we have to start out with Project Lightning, known publicly as “Moments”. This feature update has been hailed as the next big thing for months, offering us the option to refocus how we use Twitter around what’s happening instead of who we follow. That means that, instead of choosing which people to follow based on the things that they typically choose to tweet about, we’ll be able to choose the things that are happening, and other people who are into that same thing will show up in our feeds. Here’s why it could end up being a game-changer: People aren’t into just one thing. Some people are into food and tech and breakbeats, while others may find themselves tweeting a bit about politics, and a bit about the latest Kardashian news. Right now, the problem, on both ends is that we don’t want that stuff that we’re not interested in showing up, and the person tweeting worries about annoying the people who aren’t into that part of his/her life. Here’s hoping that Moments figures it out for us.

Image source: Hubspot
Image source: Hubspot

Advertisers are going to love Moments, because it extends the reach of Twitter’s advertising by up to 300% by making it possible to embed messaging on websites, news feeds, and be visible to people who aren’t logged in. The new features launched this week to users in Spain and Ireland. Early reviews: It’s pretty cool, and may get better as more people start using it.

Here’s what the Wall Street Journal had to say:

Want to see it in action? Here’s an embed of a moment that Sports Illustrated has put together to kick off the NHL season:

There’s even more rumoured to be coming out shortly. The next 6 months are make or break time for the micro-bloggers from Palo Alto – we’ll keep you posted.

This week, we have a check-in planned from @RFWhyte, my co-founder and the guy who spends his day in ad tech and media buying. Of course, expect to hear back from me next Monday with the next Social Update.

Happy Thanksgiving.