BassDrummerEd believes that “limitation makes you be creative”
Last week I was at the Thinking Digital conference in Newcastle, BassDrummerEd was there showing us how he had pushed the limits of his drumming. His stuff was incredible.
It made me think about two of my favourite social networks Twitter and Snapchat. Both have limits and both are networks I enjoy and love. Part of the reason I enjoy them so much is the limitations they impose. For Twitter, it’s the 140 character limit, for Snapchat the 10-second video limit and the restriction on uploading photos to your story.
Twitter character counts may be changing – Watch for more
Twitter was originally limited to 140 characters as it was a text messaging service. Back when it was launched the maximum length of an SMS text message was 160 characters. 140 characters allowed for the text of the tweet and the username.
Although we’re no longer limited by SMS size, 140 has become the differentiator for Twitter. It’s part of the brand and it forces users to be concise and creative to get their point over in a short space of time.
Earlier this year there was a rumour that Twitter were to extend their 140 characters to 10,000. I wasn’t a fan. Luckily they seem to have abandoned the 10,000 character limit.
The latest rumour suggests they are going to introduce stealthy, longer tweets. An article in Bloomburg, as yet unconfirmed by Twitter claims that soon the characters taken up by links and photos will no longer count towards the 140 limit.
This isn’t a surprising update. We can already extend tweets beyond 140 characters with tagging and quote tweet, this is just an extension.
If the rumour is true we’ll be able to use the full 140 characters for the text of our tweet and add links and photos after. This makes sense, at the moment if you add a photo and a link to your Tweet you’re left with just 94 characters for your tweet. Visual content has become a crucial part of the Twitter experience but it seems a shame to loose part of our prose to it.
For once I’m not annoyed, I think I’m OK with this character extension, it leaves the limitation in place, it still forces creativity but it allows us to expand the meaning of our tweets with images and text.
What do you think, is this a good thing or is it just one step on the slippery slope towards the 10,000 character tweet?