Twitter was for a long time the “other” popular social network. Soon after its launch it has seen a boom in the number of users. Today it has over 300 million active users a month, creating billions of short messages on the internet. With its 140-character limit, Twitter gave birth to the concept of the “microblog”, making communication online short and to the point. But this will most likely change this year – if it’s to the better, we’ll see.
Tweeting beyond 140 characters
Rumors say that Twitter will undergo a major change this year, which will probably alter its very essence: the elimination of the 140-character limit. According to the Wall Street Journal, the social network wants to extend its limit to 10,000 characters – that’s roughly 800 to 1000 words, punctuation marks, spaces and symbols. From then on, instead of sensing a message like
“free online casino games available at casinogamescity.com” with 79 characters still left to add a link, hashtags and other things, you’ll be able to write a complete review of the website, with user testimonials, stock quotes, lists, or whatever else you can think of.
The reason for the planned character limit extension is that, apparently, users want it. The Wall Street Journal has cited Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey say “We’ve spent a lot of time observing what people are doing on Twitter, and we see them taking screenshots of text and tweeting it. Instead, what if that text…was actually text? Text that could be searched. Text that could be highlighted. That’s more utility and power.” Users have been debating the expansion of Twitter’s character limit for quite some time. Twitter has already expanded the character limit to 10,000 on private messages, and it seems like public messages will have the same limit as soon as this March.
Will this be good for Twitter?
Well, it’s hard to say.
Twitter was embraced by a huge number of users, and loved for its character limit. Internet users have been shown in the past to value short articles over long ones. The whole Twitter feeling was built on its short form of communication.
Larger tweets have been shown to hurt user engagement. When it comes to mobile users, especially, having a larger text with a bigger picture means it takes more time to read it – which translates to less tweets read in the long run. Apparently the solution proposed by Twitter is making a larger message without altering the users’ experience, which will expand once the users click or tap on them.
It remains to be seen how Twitter users will react to the changes, and how the social network will tackle the issue of spamming.