Is it possible to not like an idea yet still believe it makes sense? I hope so because that’s where I’m at on the reported news that Twitter is about to expand its iconic 140-character tweet limit to, oh, let’s say 10,000 or so.
Twitter is building a new feature that will allow users to tweet things longer than the traditional 140-character limit, and the company is targeting a launch date toward the end of Q1, according to multiple sources familiar with the company’s plans. Twitter is currently considering a 10,000 character limit, according to these sources. That’s the same character limit the company uses for its Direct Messages product, so it isn’t a complete surprise.
There have been earlier reports that this change was in the works, but I don’t like the idea at all.
Brevity is among Twitter’s most endearing features. Not only because reading really short snippets is a welcome diversion from longer fare – and real life -- but because that enforced character limit effectively controls a writer’s worst instinct, which is to ramble on and on and on.
I like my tweets twiny.
Nevertheless, I cannot understand why Twitter has waited so long to let its users tweet longer.
Obviously, not every thought can be condensed into 140 characters (and it’s actually fewer than 140, since any Twitter user worthy of the name knows well enough to leave enough characters for a retweet). And not everyone has found these little nuggets of wisdom and nonsense as valuable or as much fun as those of us who use Twitter regularly for work and play.
So it strikes me as beyond likely that the slowing growth of Twitter’s user base and user engagement are at least in part a result of its fundamental structure, which hasn’t changed since the company was founded 10 years ago.
As much as I like Twitter writ small, I have had many an occasion when I have simply been unable to cram what I want to say into 140 minus that retweet cushion. What do I do when that happens? I click over to Facebook.
Twitter can’t have its users clicking over to Facebook. It needs to allow them more room to ruminate … whether I like it or not.
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