I’ve been away on my holidays in New York for the last week or so. I have just about been keeping up with the news and one topic that popped into my newsfeed was the possibility that Twitter would increase their character limit from 140 characters to 1000.
[Tweet “Is the 140 character limit stopping people from using Twitter?”]
I really hope the rumours about Twitter increasing their character count to 10,000 characters are false. There have been rumours for a while that they were considering an increase but I expected it to be incremental and almost invisible.
A jump this big would be a shock for Twitter users and would remove the thing, that for me, makes Twitter special.
I understand why they are considering it. The 140 character count sounds like a gimmick. They need to appease shareholders and get more people signing up and using the service. Is the 140 limit one of the things holding people back?
As much as I love that the 140 character limit forces me to be concise, I do feel that on Twitter I’m part of an exclusive club. A club that understands the rules and the language that the character restriction demands. I’m sure to an outsider that this can seem intimidating. By increasing the limit, by essentially removing it, Twitter will be a crowd pleaser.
I object! Here’s a quick (not entirely serious) video I made on holiday in NYC last week to express my feelings on the topic…
When I access Twitter and Facebook from my phone I already find the two networks very similar. So much so that on occasion I’ve been using Facebook whilst convinced I was looking at Twitter. The interfaces are so similar it can be hard to spot which one you are using.
I love Twitter for its uniqueness. I love that it makes us concise, that because of the limit I can pop in for five minutes and get an overview of what’s going on in the world, what concerns the people I follow today, what stories do they have to tell? If we want to tweet longer we can already do so, we don’t need 10,000 characters.
Of course, at this early stage we don’t really know what Twitter is proposing. My guess is that they are keen to jump into the blogging arena like LinkedIn have with publishing and Facebook have with Instant Articles and Notes.
What do you think, should Twitter expand its character count? Will it encourage you to use Twitter more or would it make you abandon the network? Let me know in the comments below.
I’d be concerned about the physical size of the tweet – at the moment I love that I can scroll through tweets very quickly to pick out ones I want to read. Where there is a picture that is too big, I can click on it if I want to see it, or scroll on if I don’t. If the larger number of characters means larger tweet frames that take longer to scroll through, I think I am likely to abandon Twitter. If it starts looking any more like Facebook, then I will definitely abandon it.
I too love the character constraint as it means I have to edit what I want to say to make it concise and meaningful.
Amanda Webb says
It’s hard to know for sure but the ‘rumours’ suggest that we’ll still see only the first 140 characters of the Tweet with a ‘see more’ option that will expand it… which will be exactly like Facebook. I spoke to one of my classes about it yesterday. They are Gen Y and have been reluctant to embrace Twitter but still didn’t like the idea of a longer character limit. It will be interesting to see how it will pan out.
I too love the concise 140, I’ll miss it.