For as long as Twitter has been around, there has been a strict 140-character limit. It’s what makes tweeting a “tweet”. Short, sweet, and to the point. Not to mention, you can spam your followers with random thoughts as much as your tweety heart desires, and no one will complain (because that’s what Twitter is for). Among the other big social media platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc., Twitter has taken it’s rightful place as the loquacious overly caffeinated cousin in your family.
Each of the platforms is used for very specific reasons; Facebook is a popular place for big event photo albums and well thought through opinions, Pinterest is often a giant wishlist or organization tool for things you want to go back to look at later, Instagram is for the daily/weekly/monthly photo to update your crowd on what you’ve been up to, and Twitter is for the spur-of-the-moment thoughts (that nobody actually wants to hear out loud). The 140-character limit imposed on Tweets plays a large part in this role: limiting people by character results in a massive amount of brief posts.
Back in August, Twitter made the transition of eliminating the 140-character limit in DMs. To me, this made a little more sense. Twitter needed some way to compete with Facebook Messenger, it’s hard to have a full-blown conversation when you’re constantly limited to a single sentence. Now Twitter plans to transition it’s public facing tweets as well, potentially a 10,000 character limit. There’s no confirmed design to this change, but it is rumored that tweets will still appear 140 characters on the home page, with some sort of “see more” button to expand the tweet.
By allowing Twitter users the freedom to expand posts to 10,000 characters, I think they’re eliminating the one endearing use of their platform. The one thing that makes them different, and the reason that they’ve remained popular in the world of pop-culture and events. When tweets are no longer a two-second read as you continue scrolling for a thought to make you laugh, I think people will lose interest. Not only this, but they’ll be opening a channel for even more spam (on an already spammy Twitter culture).
Only time will tell how the Twitter community responds to this big change in the nature of the tweet.
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