Twitter updates, and what that means to elected officials

Without a doubt, one of the greatest features of Twitter is also one of the most frustrating: the limit to 140 characters.  Obviously, this forces messages to be quick and to the point.  A bigger problem is that it forces a limit on links and pics. Even with shortlinks, you are limited to no more than 2-3 links, and that forces you to even further limit the amount of text that you put in a tweet.

At least one of these problems has been addressed by Twitter.  A new feature allows users to upload four photos, collage style (looks like Instagram, don’t you think), in one shortlink.  Additionally, like Facebook, Twitter now allows users to tag others in photos.  When you tag someone, that person gets a notification, and can then remove the tag if they so choose.  By the way, the additional photos and tagging can be done without using up any space in the tweet.

Interesting how the social networks are all copying from each other, don’t you think?

This change is fantastic for Twitter users in general, as it allows you to get more bang for your by cramming more content into your tweet.  From an elected official perspective, here are a few thoughts on how it can be useful:

  • Give better perspective: One of the best uses of Twitter has always been that it shows your constituents where you are in your job.  Now you can show where you are with four pictures.  This enables electeds to give a better, fuller perspective about their lives.  Show a panel you spoke on, but show two pics with you speaking and two with you attendees.  Show pictures of you with constituents while giving an address – all in the same tweet.  Using more pictures certainly involves more thinking, but it also clearly means better tweets.
  • Show your day: One tweet, four pictures, and you can now show all your followers what you did that day.  The four pictures give you a great opportunity to present a fantastic timeline.  
  • Tag your constituents: Facebook allows you to tag people in pictures, which people obviously like (if its a good picture!).  Twitter now allows you to do the same thing, which gives you a chance to tag other individuals, elected officials or constituents.  This can make all of these folks happy while simultaneously expanding your reach.

I fully expect these features to be expanded as time passes, with more collages and varying patterns.  Indeed, Twitter has said that they are looking at doing more things like this and ultimately removing the @ and # from tweets.

Any extra thoughts for us? Let me know in the comments!

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