Twitter 10K: Character Limit
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Twitter 10K: Should the microblogging site up its character limit?

This week Twitter users took to their keyboards, smartphones and tablets to debate the rumoured changes to the microblogging platforms’ character limit. Since the social networking site launched in 2006 the 140 character limit has been its trademark, adding uniqueness to the platform. Now Twitter bosses are considering upping that limit to a whopping 10,000 characters.

This isn’t just some spontaneous decision plucked from the air but rather an apparent attempt to revive Twitter’s waning user base by reimagining the platform. Twitter is known for its reputation as a platform for breaking news, celebrity interactions and mass discussions about current trends. By increasing the limit Twitter is opening the flood gates to more content, the logic being that more content equates to more visitors, and more visitors means more money. This need for more detailed content stems from a simple observation: some users occasionally upload photographs of text in order to overcome the character limit.

Now we’ve got the reasons why Twitter would be thinking about doing this, let’s look at why they absolutely should not be doing it. The 140 character limit was originally imposed to ensure compatibility with the existing 160 limit of SMS messaging, however it soon became the selling point of the site. Short and sweet nuggets of wisdom, silliness, stupidity or wit were what made Twitter an innovative social media platform as it offered a different kind of content to that of Facebook – short, sweet and easily digestible content as opposed to long winded rants and life updates. Users are now worried that if Twitter were to remove this limit then this uniqueness would be lost, dooming the site to become just another Facebook clone.

Of course, if Twitter decides to go through with something like this then there is nothing we digital marketers can do other than adapt to the new direction the platform is taking. I am at least thankful for their transparency so that if and when they do go live with a new feature, we can prepare beforehand and reassess our social media marketing strategy before the blast doors open to all of this new content.

I think the main problem is the lack of half measures. If Twitter wants to mix things up with an extended character limit then why do it by such a huge amount? To put things into perspective this entire post is just 2,599 characters long – imagine seeing this all within a single tweet! So please Twitter, don’t be daft.

P.S. An edit button on Twitter on the other hand would be great…

1 Comment

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