Twitter will stick to the 140-character limit. Jack Dorsey, the micro-blogging platform’s co-founder and chief executive, assuaged its user base by confirming the social media network won’t be abandoning one of its core features that won it recognition in the first place.
In an interview with NBC’s Today show that took place on the 10th birthday of Twitter, Dorsey confirmed the 140-character limit will remain in place. He offered the confirmation when directly confronted with the question about the rumored change that would allow users to post a lengthy tweet with a character limit boosted to 10,000 characters. Easing the outrage many users expressed openly on Twitter, Dorsey said the following.
“It’s staying. It’s a good constraint for us. It allows for of-the-moment brevity.”
Dorsey’s response, if applied to a tweet, will run into an economical 81 characters, but its implications run deep. The 140-character limit has always been one of Twitter’s defining characteristics, reported New York Times. People have considered the brevity an essential component that allowed them to express themselves in the shortest way possible and still reach millions of people.
Sure, the 140-character limit can be largely considered responsible for some of the most absurd abbreviations in use today, the constraint allowed news, and many a times gossip, to be generated quickly and spread even faster. The short messaging service, coupled with simplistic sharing and the ability to follow anyone, has allowed Twitter to grow at a rapid space that has been dominated by Facebook.
— Highsnobiety (@highsnobiety) January 6, 2016
While Facebook’s expansive messaging is welcomed, Twitter has become associated with short messages that convey the core idea. No wonder then, majority of Twitter’s 320 million users were visibly upset and they let their feelings known in the shortest and the most effective way they know, through tweets. Many “Twitter Celebrities” were upset since they had mastered the art of grabbing attention under 140 characters, reported International Business Times.
— Dan Primack (@danprimack) January 5, 2016
While there are many who have welcomed the apparent U-turn by Jack Dorsey, quite a few will be upset. Many were looking forward to the much-rumored change as it would allow them a more expansive literary canvas to express their thoughts.
Quite a few Twitter users had invented workarounds to send out bigger messages. Instead of a tweet limited to 140 characters, users were uploading screenshots of text. However, images can’t be “read” by a computer and that certainly affected the spread of the message. To overcome this problem, users began a new trend, referred to as “tweet storms,” reported CNet. Instead of cramming your idea in a single tweet, users sent out tweets in quick succession. To ensure other users understand what the blather was all about, tweeters numbered their tweets. Such tweets became a viral sensation and were widely used during a lengthy argument or to express an opinion, which would never have fitted in a 140-character space.
— Jack (@jack) January 5, 2016
Interestingly, it was Jack Dorsey himself, who had fanned the rumor about expanding the character limit in Twitter. Ever since he has actively returned to Twitter, he has been instrumental in multiple changes, including the “Moments” feature that allowed users to have a collated view of some of the most viral news. He was also responsible for changing the shape of its “favorite” icon from a star to a heart.
Look at "while you were away" at the top of your TL. Tweets you missed from people you follow. Pull to refresh to go back to real-time.
— Jack (@jack) February 6, 2016
However, not all changes were welcomed. Apart from the 140-character expansion, users grumbled about the “algorithmic timeline” that Dorsey had recently proposed. Ever since the birth of Twitter, users have been accustomed to latest tweets first, but the change suggested putting “best” tweets first.
While Dorsey has maintained that the revision in timeline is imminent, he has reversed completely on the decision on expanding the character limit. Does this strongly indicate Twitter is highly concerned about pleasing and retaining more users on the platform as well as getting new ones more than anything else?
[Photo by Bill Pugliano/Getty Images]