· 4 min read
For the first decade after Twitter launched, users crammed their thoughts into 140 characters max—hardly enough space for coherence. Then, in 2017, the platform expanded the character limit to 280, cutting down the “gr8”s and “b4”s and “sry”s. Then, Twitter rolled out a native-thread tool, letting users link multiple tweets together right there inside the platform. Even if people joined for short-form, Twitter wanted us thinking longer.
The latest attempt to expand word count? Twitter Notes, an in-platform long-form tool. It’s a new home for Twitter users to blog, newsletter, diary, or write whatever they’d like without the constraints of a single tweet. Here’s a Note announcing Notes, to give you a feel for the format.
With a new informative opponent in town, let’s have the obvious debate: Threads or Notes?
Context is everything, but I want to be crystal clear: Threads and Notes are different creative formats, with different use cases, with different metrics of success. Yes, they can both host much more information than one lonely tweet, but not all Threads make good Notes, and not all Notes make good Threads. Cool? Cool.
Brands with blogs and newsletters should write Notes immediately
The primary value of Twitter Notes is in their ability to host long-form written content natively within Twitter. When someone tweets a Note, clicking on it opens the Note right in your timeline (currently only on browser, though. Presumably, we’ll see this rolled out to mobile soon).
If your brand publishes any long-form writing, you should use Twitter Notes.
As a brand, the only reason you’re making content is to promote your brand. You should want your brand content everywhere, in front of as many eyes as possible. It’s marketing. You never want your marketing to be hidden, exclusive, or tough to access.
The current standard: Tweet links to the brand’s blog. The problem: Tweets with links are some of Twitter’s least-engaged posts. Twitter readers want to stay on Twitter, not click your links.
Twitter Notes just became the easiest way for you to get long-form content in front of your Twitter followers. Copy-paste those pieces, tweet ’em as Notes, and enjoy the extra readership.
A Social Media Newsletter by Jack Appleby
Brands with blogs should still blog, though
Twitter Notes are a great additional distribution point for content. If your brand runs a blog, newsletter, email list, or any other hosting/distribution platforms where it’s built an audience, keep using them! But also publish them through Twitter Notes! Distribute your promotional content using every avenue possible.
Here’s a brand blog I’d love to see embrace Twitter Notes: NBA 2K22 Courtside Reports.
Basketball gamers eat up long-form blog pieces for updates on new features, new seasons, and all the extra details they need to know about the game. Because video-game updates roll out in bunches and often include very-small-but-important changes, long-form is the only communication format that makes sense.
Currently, @NBA2K tweets out external links to new blog posts. With Twitter Notes, @NBA2K could instead publish the exact same content in native-Twitter format that populates directly on its timeline, ensuring their players get the information as easily as possible. The metric of success for each blog becomes overall readership across all platforms, which will only go up with wider distribution. That’s a big win for repurposing.
If your brand’s not writing long-form already, don’t start just for Twitter
Twitter Notes aren’t going to revolutionize your content marketing strategy. They’re helpful, but I’d never encourage a brand or social team to suddenly write essays just for the sake of using the feature.
Social teams: Don’t feel pressured to use Twitter Notes. I don’t anticipate an algorithmic benefit and suspect it’ll be among the lowest performers in terms of traditional social engagements. If it makes sense to try, great. If not, no biggie.
When in doubt, test it out
I’m giving my take here, but I always encourage testing out everything yourself. We all learn together, and I’d love to hear what you think. Just have a hypothesis, a use case, and measurements in mind when you’re testing new content formats.