Remember, always think before you Tweetstorm.
Over the weekend, Twitter confirmed that it is testing a new feature that has been colloquially labeled the “tweetstorm” feature. For those unfamiliar, a “tweetstorm” refers to a series of tweets sent in reply to each other, in rapid succession, regarding the same topic. These are usually all planned out by the writer ahead of time in order to fit what they want to say within the character limit.
Now, within the new feature, users would be able to craft multiple tweets at a time and send them at the same time in reply to each other. Here’s the basics, as first reported by the Daily Mail:
- It will allow users to compose a series of separate, 280-character long Tweets
- Pressing a ‘Tweet all’ button will send all of the Tweets out in consecutive order
- The feature is being tested on iOS and Android alpha and beta programs
- It is not yet clear when the feature will roll out to all users.
Now, you may be thinking “won’t this just create more clutter in my timeline?”. Possibly. But like with any new feature, brand managers and social marketers just have to find creative ways to utilize this new feature. In order to figure out how to do that in this instance, I chatted with some marketing and PR pros from around the sport industry.
Dr. Karen Freberg, associate communications professor at the University of Louisville, shared some thoughts on how this can simplify the sharing of press releases and announcements.
“It can be used by a PR person or representative in providing their statement in a series of tweets all at once, instead of sharing one tweet and a link to go to a website. I think recruits for sports (or decisions on which brand/sponsorship to take) will definitely use this tool.”
In other words, we may end up seeing fewer screen shots of the iPhone notes app as a result of this feature being implemented.
“Second, it can be used to handle a crisis and provide context to the situation. If there was a breaking news story, they would be able to send out a series of tweets in regards to this all at once.”
As Tod Meisner, digital marketing and media coordinator at Aflac, points out, there’s a situation in college sports now where this could be immediately applicable: the season ending injury to Michael Porter Jr.
On Tuesday, the University of Missouri basketball program announced that one of their best players would need season-ending surgery in a series of tweets. If you note the examples above, you’ll see how each of these tweets had to be sent out several minutes apart. With the new feature, those tweets can be composed, edited, and posted all in one go.
“As with any new feature, it’s important to remember to use it in a way that adds value to your audience.”, adds Joe Centeno. As the art director at Team Inforgraphics, Centeno has seen and helped athletic departments around the country adjust to tweaks in the social media game.
“Just like when the character limit was increased to 280, you saw a lot of very creative ways to use it effectively. This ‘tweetstorm’ feature is interesting because of how much of fans’ feeds a team will be able to capture at once. By itself it forces a user to pay attention to the series of tweets. If you can add in graphic or motion graphic abilities, teams will have a great opportunity of making an big impact with their posts.”
Time will tell if those features are able to be built in to the new update. While at its inception, brevity was the soul of Twitter. As that continues to become less and less of the case, marketers will need to adjust in order to continue getting the most out of the platform.
This piece has been presented to you by SMU’s Master of Science in Sport Management.
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