No More 140 Characters on Twitter?
Re/code was the first to report on the possibility of increasing the traditional 140-character limit to 10,000. Jack Dorsey, CEO of Twitter, says that the 140-character limit works and is beneficial, but questions what if we could see more text? He promises to keep it’s “live conversational nature” in tact. He also states, IF Twitter decides to go forward with changes that developers will have plenty of time to prepare and plan. So we know this change is not going to take place right away. Many sources have said that this and other changes are coming soon. Many think this may be due to Twitter’s stock prices hitting all time lows. Recently, their stock market shares traded below $20, a first for them.
Twitter has stayed on top of updating and changing throughout the years to meet consumer’s demands. In the last few months they launched the Periscope app, as a new way to share live video, as well as changing the star “favorite” button to a heart. The potential 10,000-character limit might still function like the current character limit. It has been shared across the Internet that tweets might still look like a normal 140 character tweet with a “call to action” to expand the tweet and read more. This change could have some serious effects.
2 Positive Effects
This could bring more users. Many bloggers might be inclined to use Twitter to gain more followers, use keywords and hashtags, which they simply can’t do with most blogging platforms now. This, of course, would be profitable for Twitter, but it would also be advantageous for the current Twitter community. More people (potentially) equals more people to see your content.
Another positive effect will be the ability to get lots of information out at once. Instead of tweeting multiple tweets in succession to get information out, the increased character limit will allow more to be said at one time. In times of crisis, in political debates, in sportscasting, etc., there are many updates that happen almost simultaneously. Larger character limits will let people read the full story on Twitter instead of clicking away to read the rest of the information elsewhere. Since many people use Twitter as a way to find out news and information, this could make Twitter a very good one stop source.
2 Negative Effects
People have had to learn how to be very creative with the 140-character limit. NPR outlined a few of the positive ways Twitter has made us more creative with our words. With a much larger character limit there is less of a need to be creative with posts. Part of the beauty of Twitter is being able to say what you need to say very succinctly and creatively without losing the contents value. I hope that people still will think creatively and make use out of saying a little, which often times, says a lot.
Lastly, Twitter will lose its micro blogging specialty. Currently, the social media channel is one of a kind in the micro blogging arena, and it will be sad to see it conform to the style of many of the other social media platforms. I hope if Twitter does decide to change its character limits that it doesn’t lose its integrity and uniqueness as a social media platform. What do you think? Is it a good or a bad idea? How will it affect your company?
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Elizabeth Muckensturm – Communication and Media Professor