People have been exploding over the news that Twitter is to increase the character limit from 140 to 10,000. “It will be the death of Twitter, they are going to kill it off, this will ruin the social network,” these are just some of the kinds of reactions that I am seeing as people continue to lose their minds over the news. Yes, the idea of scrolling through essays and rants is nuts, and yes that would more than likely kill Twitter. Except that is not going to happen.
Twitter didn’t even start with the 140 character restriction, that came later on. The reality is that most people are being misled by various article headlines from multiple publications and jumping onto the wagon before even thinking about it. The story initially broke on ReCode however when you read through it you can see that it clearly states the following:
“It sounds like what Twitter is thinking about is a sort of “click here to read more” link of some kind, so a tweet would still look the same but you would be able to click on it and see an expanded version of up to 10,000 characters.”
Many Twitter users already are tweeting more than 140 characters a lot of the time now anyway! Think about it, how many times do you see people tweeting screenshots of something they have written in their notes app on an iPhone? Services such as TwitLonger and Medium are soaring in popularity when people want to go beyond 140 characters.
Now, the founder of the social media platform and the current CEO has weighed in and finally given his view on what they are exploring behind the scenes at Twitter.
— Jack (@jack) January 5, 2016
Jack points out that they are observing how we use Twitter, they are watching what we do and how we share information. Should the decision be to move to 10,000 it won’t be because they have decided to do it for the sake of doing it, however it will be because the usage of the platform requires it.
However the idea of course is that making these tweeted screenshots into text gives more power to platform and user. Text can be searched, indexed and highlighted which can’t be done by tweeting a screenshot. He acknowledges that what makes Twitter tick is the fast, public, live conversation nature of it and says they will always work to strengthen that.
Twitter knows where the strengths and weaknesses of the platform are. There are a core set of users, like there are on any platform who want it to stay the same and who don’t want anything to change. Well guess what? That could kill your beautiful Twitter service just as easily.
If they get it right they could turn Twitter into an incredibly powerful social media tool, more powerful than it is at the moment. The point however remains, there is no need for panic. Twitter is not going to flood your timeline with enormous tweets, they are simply hoping that when you can’t fit what you want into 140 characters they can keep you inside its little corner of the internet and that is not necessarily a bad thing.