The traditional 140-character limit for Twitter will soon be changing to 10,000 with a new feature Twitter will be unveiling in the near future. There is no set roll out date for “Beyond 140”, what Twitter insiders are calling the new feature. There is a possibility of character limits fluctuating before launching, but the 10,000-character count doesn’t come as a total surprise considering Twitters’ Direct Messaging has the same character limit.
In the past, longer tweets have resulted in decreased usage. By taking up too much of the users time and screen space, people look less at tweets. Twitter is looking at the design to help keep user engagement the same, while still accommodating longer tweets and more content. In a version of the product currently being tested by Twitter, the timeline looks and feels the same. Longer tweets only show the original 140 characters, and hide the rest, with a button that gives the option to expand and view the remaining part of the tweet.
More recent product updates for Twitter, such as “Moments” aka event summaries, were a failed attempt at boosting user growth. Beyond 140 could be the answer that Twitter has been waiting for. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, attested to rumors in a long tweet of his own. “As its core Twitter is public messaging. A simple way to say something, to anyone, that everyone in the world can see instantly. We will never lose that feeling but what if text was actually text (and not just a screenshot of text). Text that could be searched. Text that could actually be highlighted. That’s more utility and power. What makes Twitter, Twitter is its fast, public, live conversation nature. We will always work to strengthen that. For every person around the world, in every language! Were not going to be shy about building more utility and power into Twitter for people. As long as it’s consistent with what people want to do, were going to explore it.”
Luke Yun, a 72andSunny social strategist believes that Twitter is moving in the wrong direction, “It comes across as a desperate move that strays from everything the company is built on. At the end of the day, the user experience may take a hit. And that’s a loss for everyone involved.”
Although there are quite a few users who are against the added character count, optimists such as Laura Chavoen feel that Beyond 140 will open the doors for users to create new strategies within Twitter usage. “This proactive move will widen the audience and, in conjunction with the launch of the ‘non-logged-in’ experience, will fundamentally change the way Twitter is used,” Chavoen, director of social media at Grey New York, says.
Changing the character limit represents Twitters’ push for serious changes, considering the limit on characters has been around for as long as twitter has been. But, until Beyond 140 launches, we can only speculate the effects more character opportunities will have on Twitter.