Paula Darch 7 January 2016 4 min read

How twitter has sparked the intranet engagement debate


There is a great deal of social debate on the latest news that twitter may well be expanding its character count from 140 to 10,000 by the end of Q1. 10,000 characters is roughly 2000 words (I’ve checked), so a substantial blog or whitepaper. Twitter succeeds by forcing its users to deliver a key message in few words. Short and to the point. Twitter and other social media channels are changing the way we navigate pages, engage with fellow users and search our way through the digital world and this has trickled down to the way we use intranets. Social intranets are widely accepted these days.

Will the latest twitter news shape the way we engage with our intranets in the future? We already acknowledge that not every employee is an intranet contributor (it would be great if they were) and as highlighted by Nielsen Norman way back in 2013 many are valuable “intranet lurkers”. If more colleagues are accessing than contributing then the items that are published need to be very succinct and to the point, just like twitter.

Will twitter go ahead with the change? It's got us all talking! If it does, and in turn our intranet behaviour changes  and we all  become world class speed readers and are much more selective on the content we click to read what will the impact be? It may not overtly change an Intranets structure but could impact an Intranet contributor’s content and also raise the bar when it comes to the comprehensiveness of the search function.

For me, it’s highlighted the importance of ensuring intranet content is considered, structured content and that just as we do when we write blogs, press releases or emails our most important message should be:

  • Featured in the first paragraph
  • Be repeated throughout the article to ensure it’s searchable.
  • Concise (just because you can have more do you have to use more?)
  • Unique (to stand out from the crowd)
  • Timely (xmas news in January is of little use to anyone)

The debate has also highlighted the wider issue of social intranets and the common frustration of silo content and the lack of a single point of content creation. Maybe the fall out from the twitter news is simply for all of us to consider our own intranets usability and how can we support the intranet contributors we have and also encourage more to get involved and engaged.

Whatever happens, it’s been a great debate here. Tell us what you think.


Paula Darch

Paula is our marketing whizz and is passionate about intranet engagement and getting the most out of your intranet software.