Is Twitter about to ditch its trademark 140-character limit and go for the jugular? Recent reports emerging on the internet suggest so, meaning the death of Twitter as we know it might not be far away.
Over the last couple of days, internet has been rife with reports about the higher echelons of Twitter seriously considering going beyond its 140-character limit and allowing 10,000-character tweets. The higher echelons, in effect, point to Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, who returned as the company’s chief executive in October and has since been rather explicit in his attempts to make Twitter more engaging.
But while his earlier attempts, one of which involved changing Twitter’s “favorite” icon to the Facebookesque “like” icon, might not have meddled with the soul of Twitter, expanding its trademark 140-character limit will be a change of epic proportions, significantly altering the micro-blogging site’s essential make up. What it means, in reality, is that Twitter will not remain a micro-blogging site anymore and in fact become more like Facebook, which itself is trying to rid its servers of the longer essays that one has come to associate with the social media site.
The hullabaloo surrounding Twitter’s proposed plans started when technology site Re/code published a report saying that it had gathered from multiple sources that Twitter is building a new feature that will allow users to tweet things longer than the traditional 140-character limit, and while it did not set a date for the launch of the new product, it said that Twitter is considering rolling out the beta changes within the first quarter of the new year.
Furthermore, the report claimed that Twitter is considering a 10,000 character limit, based on the same sources. Under the new scheme of things, longer tweets will be hidden behind some sort of user interaction to expand them, meaning that Twitter timelines will continue to pack in multiple tweets, and we apparently won’t be forced to scroll past long essays on the service.
Unsurprisingly, the news that Twitter might be altering its trademark feature elicited groans and moans from all around the internet. Reddit forums were filled with people lamenting the “death of Twitter”, while sites like Ars Technicasimply labeled the plans“terrible.” Mashable said Dorsey was on an unending quest to ruin Twitter. People took to the micro-blogging site to express their disappointment, perhaps imagining that it won’t be long before they would have 10,000 characters at their disposal to do so. After all, as the folks over at Wall Street Journal wrote, Twitter is a platform that is succinct and well-suited to quips and breaking news headlines. Changing its face may well mean a complete reshuffle was on the cards, both for Twitter and for the internet.
But as much disappointment Twitter’s reported plans to expand its 140-character limit might have caused to the Twitter faithful, it is difficult to take the reports at their face value. For starters, Re/code published pretty much the same report back in September, and it never came to fruition. Technology site Gizmodo stopped short of terming the reported plans a hoax, but nonetheless called it “fake” in no ambiguous terms. As it said, Twitter’s reported plan to expand its character limit, provided there was an ounce of truth in it, appeared stupid in that it would alienate committed users who’ve long feared a world of full of long tweets.
Anyway, only Jack Dorsey and his chums at Twitter would know whether or not they are considering expanding the character-limit to 10,000 characters, but if they are indeed planning such a disastrous change, the insurmountable backlash it has already received would surely have told them to refrain from it.
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