What in the World are We Gonna Do with 280 Characters?

Are 280 Characters Too Many?

By Heather Murdick and Andrew Woodcock

If someone asked me what I think about when someone mentions Twitter, I know what I’d say: Trump tweets, controversy over fake accounts, and 140 characters. Well, as many of you already know, one of those things has changed in the last week.

On November 7, Twitter rolled out an update fundamentally changing a core, defining aspect of the social media platform. Tweets can now contain up to 280 characters—twice as much as before. This is great news, folks… Well, probably.

The update has received some mixed reviews. Some see it as an innovation, while others see it as useless. Despite the mixed reactions, however, this update can only be good in the long run—especially for marketing messages.

The Reactions

If you follow European soccer, you may be familiar with the German soccer club Borussia Mönchengladbach. If you’re familiar with ‘Gladbach, then you must also be familiar with the fact that that’s not even the longest a name can get.

Shortly after the update, ‘Gladbach showed their appreciation for the extra real estate Twitter gave them.

Parks and Recreation actor Ben Schwartz unleashed his nerdy side with his favorite number.

Others were shocked and dumbfounded, such as the publishing company Melville House. Not knowing what else to do, they used the new 280-character limit to express their frustration.

YouTuber Phillip DeFranco didn’t even need to use 140 characters to express his feelings on the matter.

And finally, the official Twitter handle for Law & Order: SVU took advantage of the new character limit to craft the greatest tweet ever tweeted in the history of Twitter.

The Pros and Cons

While humorous, these Twitter users actually bring up some good points about the new character limit. There’s a lot of potential, but also a lot of room for potential abuse.

On one hand, the new character limit allows users to share a longer, more complete message. It gives them more breathing room to get necessary and relevant information out in one tweet. So, unless you’re writing a whole novel on Twitter, there will be less instances of breaking up your message into numbered tweets. It also gives users the opportunity to include a larger quantity and longer hashtags.

On the other hand, the previous 140-character limit forced users to keep their messages shorter and therefore more precise and information-dense. Some people fear that the longer tweets will be skipped over; since people are so used to shorter tweets, they won’t have the time or attention span to read something twice that long. Others are complaining that alternative features or upgrades would have been more important, such as an edit button.

The Future

So, what happens next? Twitter culture is slowly going to change as a result of this update. People, news outlets, sports teams, etc. are going to tweet differently moving forward. More characters means more room for creativity, relevant information, wordplay, and EMOJIS. Only time will tell what Twitter will look like 6 months, 12 months and 24 months from now. Despite the reactionary backlash, we believe that only good can come out of this update in the long run. Selfishly, this update saves us time editing copy down to 140 characters (or less with links) to fit into our tweets!

What are your thoughts?


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Bridging the Gap: Understanding Cultural Differences

The Importance of Understanding Cultural Differences

By Andrew Woodcock, TVG Account Executive

There’s a phrase in Russian that closely corresponds to one in English: “mir tyesen.”  Word for word, this phrase means “the world is tight,” but the base meaning is closer to our phrase “it’s a small world.” Modern communication technology is bringing the world closer every day.

Today, it’s just as easy to talk to a colleague in China as it is to talk to a colleague who just left the office for lunch. However, that doesn’t mean that your interactions with the Chinese colleague should be the same as with your American colleague. Culture and national identity are alive and well, and should be taken into account whenever you interact with someone from a different background than your own.

Whether you’re traveling to a different country for business or have just hired a diverse team of skilled workers around the world, you must always be prepared to encounter and overcome cultural differences and language barriers. Here are a couple of tips on how to help bridge the gap between cultures and make for a more comfortable and diverse workplace environment.

Read up on the culture you’ll be encountering

Every country in the world, old or new, has a rich and storied history. They celebrate their own holidays, cook national dishes, listen to their own styles of music and wear clothes appropriate for their culture. Take some time to Google the history, art and customs of the country you’ll be visiting. Not only will it be personally enriching, but it will also give you a way to connect with the local people. Showing off your knowledge of the local customs and history will make those around you realize you truly care about their culture, and aren’t just visiting for business and cool Instagram photos.

Learn the language

Languages are hard to learn. You spent years in grade school learning all the grammar and intricacies of English. Why spend more time learning a whole new language—especially when so much of the world speaks English already? Well, the fact that almost everyone can already speak English makes learning a foreign language all the more impressive. Even if you can only recite a couple key phrases, it shows that you‘re making the effort to bridge the cultural gap. Rather than your colleague reaching out to you by speaking English, the two of you are meeting in the middle as equals.

Be patient

Unfortunately, no matter how much you research a country or how well you know the language, there will always be some culture shock and confusion. “False friends” may cause confusion and frustration. These are words that sound the same in two languages, but have different or even opposite meanings (for example, if you go to Russia and ask if there are any “preservatives” in your food, you’re asking if there are any contraceptives in it). Words, actions or gestures that are not offensive to us can be very offensive to someone from another culture, and vice versa. When this happens, it is important to stay patient and be accommodating. Working through these frustrations together will lead to a smarter and stronger bond between you and your colleagues.

Keep an open mind

When I learn a new language, or study the history of a culture I’m unfamiliar with, I think of it as exploring a new world. There are so many things that make each culture unique. You have to be open to trying and learning new things in order to work smoothly with a diverse team. Always try to think about how they see things from their perspective; doing so will give you insight on their corner of the world.

All of this being said, there are so many similarities between people of all nations. We all laugh at the same physical comedy, groan when we have to clean up our pets’ messes, and cry when we lose a loved one. After all, we are all human.


Andrew Woodcock is an account executive at The Vandiver Group in St. Louis, Missouri. Follow The Vandiver Group on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn and Instagram.