In case you missed it in early January, it leaked out that Twitter is planning to extend its 140-character limit to as many as 10,000. The character limit that forces users to pen snappy tweets could give way to the longer essays. Some speculate that the change is a calculated move to transform Twitter into more of a public blogging platform (Medium, anyone?).
However, according to articles I’ve read, for tweets that are longer than 140 characters, users will have to click and expand to see the rest of the text. As users write beyond the 140-character limit, Twitter will signal to them that they have crossed the threshold.
After the news came out, Twitter’s co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted (what else) about the news explaining his thinking behind the expansion:
— jack (@jack) January 5, 2016
Part of the tweet read, “We’ve spent a lot of time observing what people are doing on Twitter, and we see them taking screenshots of text and tweeting it.” He went on to say, “Instead, what if that text…was actually text? Text that could be searched. Text that could be highlighted.” Interesting to note that the entire tweet was 1317 characters.
Suffice to say, the news has been extremely polarizing for loyal “tweeters.” Some bemoaned that such a change would spoil the brevity and speed of the real-time service. But the truth is that some on Twitter have been getting around the character restrictions by creating tweetstorms where they string a series of tweets together by replying to them in numerical succession. Users have also gone around the character restriction by attaching screenshots of longer text to their tweets.
No official launch date has been set for these changes, but sources close to the matter say Twitter is targeting the end of Q1 2016.
What do you think? Is a character expansion a good thing or is Twitter losing a little bit of its soul?