Twitter may be expanding its message character limit from 140 to 10,000. Should the change happen, it would be another effort by the social media juggernaut to make the service more user-friendly and give users a reason to stay off Facebook.
As CNN Money pointed out, rampant speculation about Twitter expanding the character limit started yesterday. Yet, the company’s founder and CEO Jack Dorsey still has not confirmed or denied the rumor.
— Jack (@jack) January 5, 2016
According to Dorsey, what makes Twitter unique is the 140 character limit, which helps Twitter users be creative and brief. The original idea behind it was so text could easily fit in a single SMS message.
Nonetheless, the CEO mentioned that users may want to have the ability to expand on ideas in a post.
“We see [people] taking screenshots of text and tweeting it. Instead, what if that text… was actually text? We’re not going to be shy about building more utility and power into Twitter for people.”
Although the Twitter character limit expansion has yet to happen, users are already complaining about the potential change. Fearing the service will lose its speed and brevity, they claim the service is doomed to transform Twitter into more of a public blogging platform and bogged down by ceaseless wordy posts like the ones found on Facebook.
It is likely that if tweets take up more space on the screen, many users will simply not view most of them, leading to less engagement overall. To counteract this, Twitter is working on ways to add more text without degrading the user experience.
A Twitter insider pointed out that a user’s timeline will look pretty much the same as now. If a tweet goes beyond the 140-character limit, but less than 10,000, a user will need to click and expand to view the additional content. Additionally, when someone writes a post, Twitter will indicate when the 140-character limit has been breached, ideally encouraging a shorter message.
While many are lamenting the change, there are just as many users who long for Twitter to expand the character limit. In the past, users discovered a workaround the character restriction by posting screenshots of longer texts, just as Dorsey did in his post yesterday about the increased limit.
Over the years, many outside of Twitter have argued that the product needs to have a higher character limit. It has also been an ongoing debate instead the company as well.
Now that CEO Jack Dorsey is back in charge, Twitter has been looking for ways to increase its user base and seems to be taking the limit increase more seriously. According to a Re/code report, the idea of expanding the character limit to 10,000 seems to have been a heated topic starting sometime in September.
Sources close to the company say Twitter is meeting with some analytics and measurement experts to prepare the service to handle longer tweets. The messaging service is also concerned an expanded character limit can potentially increase spamming issues and is working out a plan to handle those as well.
Recently, company executives have been rethinking how Twitter measures the 140-character limit. Ideas like removing links and user handles from the count are some tweaks being considered.
Twitter has already expanded the 140 character limit to 10,000 in private messages and added a “retweet with comment” option, which essentially gives a user more room to write.
Of course, there is still a chance the long-form feature will never be released. Yet, if Dorsey is looking to increase user base, then this could be a way to do it. An increased character limit may encourage users to post directly to Twitter instead of other social media platforms like Facebook and LinkedIn.
If Twitter is really working on a plan to expand the character limit to 10,000, surely many revisions will need to be made before the actual rollout. Many believe the product change will happen sometime before the end of March.
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