Until recently, Twitter has been synonymous with brevity. The brief comments and short snippets that characterized the social media site set it apart from its more long-winded counterparts such as Facebook and Google+.

But Twitter has recently rolled out “expanded Tweets” that allow messages to go beyond the typical 140-character Tweet and to include an image, headline, a 280-character summary and a link to the user’s Twitter handle.

For small businesses, this expanded service offers opportunities to share more information with their clients in a visually-appealing format that can help showcase online content and drive interaction to a business owner’s website.

Though the new format is still in testing, Blake Cahill, president of social-media agency Banyan Branch, is excited about the possibilities. “It has a very Pinterest-esque look,” says Cahill, “and will be great for sharing fresh visual content or previewing links we’d like users to visit.”

Critics of the new expanded features fear that it will ruin the service by encouraging users to ramble. According to John C. Dvorak of PC Mag, the beauty of Twitter is that unlike other similar services, it “forces its users to check themselves at the door and get to the point.”

“The way I see it,” says Dvorak, “if you have something complex to share, then write it in a blog post and link to that post in a tweet. Tweeting, upon its inception, was called a micro-blogging for a reason.”

Despite the risk to Twitter of losing some of its uniqueness, many social marketing experts are excited about the changes, while also aware of the limitations of the new features.

“Publishers will have to balance increased visibility in the Twitter stream with ensuring the headline, image and synopsis are compelling enough that a user will click through for more, rather than getting everything they need from that first view,” say Noah Mallin, group director for social marketing at Digitas.

Although the new Twitter would provide expanded marketing opportunities for small business owners, it will be up to the tweeter to ensure that the new features don’t amount to information overload.


Walsh, Mark. Online Media Daily. June 15, 2012. http://www.mediapost.com/publications/article/176925/twitter-updates-may-help-brands-monetize-content.html

Dvorak, John C. PC Mag. June 15, 2012. http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,2817,2405898,00.asp

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