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  • Posted on 22 January 2016

Weibo ends 140-character limit

On Wednesday 20th January, Weibo announced that the 140-character limit per post will be ended by 28th January for beta version. The maximum characters per post will be 2 000. 1 month after (from 28th February), this change will open to all users. 

Here are the new changes:

  1. When the number of post characters passed 140 and less than 2000, there will be no more alert from Weibo.
  2. Only the first 140 characters would be shown to readers up front and they would have to click on a link to see the contents of longer messages.
  3. Content support “new line” to create more formats.

What does this move mean for Weibo? Is this to challenge Wechat?

Though some experts infer that this action is copying Twitter who is intending to remove this limitation as well. But for local “Twitter”, the “used No.1 social media platform” has been challenged from Wechat who has more powerful functions since 5 years.

According to Weibo’s report, by September 2015, the active users have increased 33% and reached 222 million, while it is still far from the 600 million active Wechat users…

From Ali Yun’s report, almost 57% users don’t post Weibo within 7 days from a sample of 30 000 persons. Among these posting users, 86.9% users don’t create their own post, and 88.9% users never share other’s original posts. 

It’s not difficult to see that, Weibo users browse a lot to reach out as much as information by fragmented reading. Weibo is always the platform where we can find HOT TOPICS.

“I’m following 30-40 Wechat Official Accounts, and everyday there are so many pushing messages that I don’t have time to read. It is becoming annoying now.” Said Xiao Wu, an office lady in Finance.

From our point of view, Weibo still has its unreplaceable advantages on viral marketing. Thanks to this 140-character policy change, Key Opinion Leaders will be able to produce more qualified content to engage with their followers. The accumulated forwarding content and comments will be more viral powerful. 

What are Weibo users thinking about this move?

50% users pro, 50% users con, based on CNR’s survey.

Pros:

  • can clearly express ideas
  • no need to calculate punctuation
  • more formats to use in the content

Cons:

  • 140 characters is Weibo identity to differentiate with blogs
  • users will be too lazy to read the long content
  • similar function as “Long Weibo” which is embed as picture along with Weibo.

What we can do with this change in social media?

As Weibo is showing its potential on media, instead of social media, this constraint cancellation will help We Media and brands official accounts to engage with their followers. Before, long content has to be edited into pictures, but now, more opportunities to optimize the keywords and hashtags within Weibo content. In a word, it is a good news for branding operations.

Posted by NetBooster Asia (Shanghai)