A Re/Code and TechCrunch article reported this morning that Twitter may drop their 140 character limit on their tweets. As a long time fan and user of Twitter, I’ll admit that a huge red flag went up when I read that headline.
As many have said, the 140 character limit is what makes Twitter different and what makes the micro-blogging platform what it is. However, this feature may be aimed at making this unique social network easier for new-comers to use. While I’m not opposed to having new people learn the ropes or join Twitter, I think that the 140 character limit is just something you have to learn and live with.
As a journalism major, and technically a photography major too, I have taken classes and workshops that help you learn how social media works and how to understand it. Everyone struggles to form a coherent thought in 140 characters at first. But you learn how to do it better every time you tweet. Honestly, I still struggle from time to time. But I typically don’t think about it when I tweet. My mind goes straight into a short but sweet mode.
I’m very against this move. I agree with Josh Constine, At TechCrunch, when he said in his article,
On the other hand, one of the best things about Twitter is the information density. Since users have to condense their thoughts into bite-size knowledge nuggets, it’s easy to learn a lot while quickly scrolling through the timeline. Dropping the character limit could dilute the stream with babbling, and make us interrupt scrolling to constantly expand tweets to their full length.
The tweets, according to Re/Code won’t be displayed at their full length, which is set at 10,000 characters, which is the average word count of a news article. They will be cut off at 140 characters, and then you’d have to hit an expand button or what they called a “Call to Action” that will expand the tweet and display what could be essentially a news article.
I hope we don’t see this feature. I understand that Twitter has to grow, evolve, and as a public company it has a fiduciary responsibility. But I don’t want to see what is a, if not the key element of Twitter go by the wayside because I feel like it will lose that “short but sweet thoughts” process and their information density. Sources told Re/Code that this is set to roll out near the end of Q1, but no date has been confirmed. Ultimately it could never happen. We shall see.