Will Twitter really change its character limit?

Posted on January 11, 2016

 

Since its inception in 2006, social networking site Twitter has changed a lot, with the introduction of many new features, the removal of a few and a user base that’s second only to Facebook. However, despite all of this change, one thing has remained the same – its iconic 140-character tweet limit.

In recent weeks, speculation and rumours about the site potentially changing this limit have been emerging and circling around the media. This has led Interim CEO Jack Dorsey to confirm that the company is considering raising this limit. This has only put fuel on the fire of these rumours, with many believing that it will not just increase the limit, but change it to almost ten times the current barrier, with a 10,000-character limit being discussed.

This could completely revolutionise the way in which people and businesses interact with the platform. At present, 10,000 characters may seem completely delusional and unnecessary, but back in the summer of 2015, it did this with its Direct Message function, eliminating the 140-character limit and upping it to 10,000.

The move was revealed in the only appropriate place for the company to make an announcement – on Twitter. Dorsey commented that the company had been observing what its users were doing on the platform and noticed that many uploaded pictures of text, as a way around the 140-character limit.

https://twitter.com/jack/status/684496529621557248/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

The announcement was met with a bag of mixed reviews, with some believing that this could be a great new path for the platform, with others more apprehensive and reluctant to accept this potential change.

As part of Dorsey’s announcement, what can be interpreted as justification for the move was included, with the company CEO explaining:

“Instead, what if that text…was actually text? Text that could be searched. Text that could be highlighted. That’s more utility and power.”

But what will this move mean to businesses on the platform?

Many businesses utilise Twitter as part of their online marketing for one reason or another; some to attract a new set of customers, some to engage with current customers and some to create a presence online. Whatever the reason for setting up a company account, this news can be used as an advantage.

Many people start typing out a tweet and find that they are one or two characters over the limit, and face the daunting prospect of removing a character, perhaps having to choose a tactical grammatical error in order to be able to tweet the message. This can be risky for business, especially those that wish to appear as professional as possible, or are promoting a service that requires perfect grammar, such as here at Engage Web. The removal of the character limit instantly removes this common problem for businesses.

A longer character limit can also give businesses the opportunity to promote themselves and their services on the platform more freely and expressively, without having to cram it all into a small amount of text that often leads to a link to the company website.

Are there any potential downfalls?

You can never be certain about whether a radical change such as this will be successful or not until it is tested. Perhaps the social network will trial the change before rolling out worldwide. One potential downfall will be longer and possibly chunkier tweets to scroll past. Whilst it may make browsing slightly longer, it may prompt a user to ‘clear out’ their ‘following’ list.

This may appear to be a problem for company accounts, but it will just mean that your social media boffins will have to reevaluate their approach to the platform and come up with a new and different approach to engaging potential followers.

Should you rethink your social media strategy?

Twitter’s announcement can be a blessing for businesses using the site, as it could allow for online marketing strategies to become more creative and free flowing. If your company needs to rejuvenate or rethink its online marketing, Engage Web is always ready to help you flourish.

All that we need to wait for now is the company to announce if and when it plans to implement the changes, and what the character limit will be if so.

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  • […] of the site since its inception in 2006. Some reports even suggested that CEO Jack Dorsey wanted to rid the site of these limits altogether in January this year. This was met with much criticism from users and even led to share prices in the company dipping by […]

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