It has been the subject of much controversy in the Twittersphere over the past number of months. Users have been wondering if Twitter would extend the 140 character limit on tweets and what kind of impact that may have on how we use Twitter in general.
I have mentioned several times now that it is highly, highly unlikely that Twitter would extend past 140 characters and bombard users with massive amounts of information in such a small feed.
It would be madness, it would be stupid, it would be a sure fire way to effectively put the company out of business. Twitter is not stupid, they know what is going to work and what can’t be messed with.
When news of the 10,000 character limit began to break online, Jack took to Twitter to give his response. He pointed out that users often shared screenshots of text on Twitter to try and get around the 140 character limit and asked, “What if that text…was actually text? Text that could be searched. Text that could be highlighted.”
At the same time he said that the 140 character limit is “a beautiful constraint” and that Twitter “will never lose that feeling.” So naturally we were all pretty lost as to what this actually meant for Twitter, was it going to change or was it not going to change?
Jack was on The Today Show in America a few days ago to talk about Twitter’s 10 year anniversary and host Matt Lauer asked him straight up: “One hundred and forty characters. The limit: Is it staying? And if it’s going away, when?”
Dorsey replied with: “It’s staying, it’s a good constraint for us, and it allows for of-the-moment brevity.”
Lauer: Your not changing anything?
Dorsey: We’re changing a lot. We’re always going to make Twitter better.
Lauer: But still 140 characters.
Dorsey: 140 characters.
We can draw on a number of conclusions from this excerpt of text. Twitter is going to continue to change. More than likely this is going to mean new features which top level management think will improve Twitter and that should be no surprise to any of us. We all know by now that the pressure is on Twitter to grow.
We can also conclude that the 140 limit that you see in your timeline today is here to stay, that is not going anywhere. However, embedding text in tweets or having a 140 character tweet link to more text in the app or on the web was not discussed. It is still very much on the table.
Maybe Twitter will do it, maybe they won’t. What we have learnt though is that users who were concerned about their timelines turning into big essays overnight can now rest easy because we can say with certainty that it won’t happen.
Apart from that, it is still very much the same message we heard a couple of months ago.