Twitter is building a new feature that will allow users to tweet things longer than the traditional 140-character limit, and the company is targeting a launch date toward the end of Q1, according to multiple sources familiar with the company’s plans. Twitter is currently considering a 10,000 character limit, according to these sources. That’s the same character limit the company uses for its Direct Messages product, so it isn’t a complete surprise.
I can see this happening in one of two ways.
- Twitter adds support for creating notes. Notes would be attached to tweets in the same way that photos and videos can be attached to tweets now.
- Twitter truly changes the structure of a tweet to allow 10,000 characters of text per tweet.
I'm expecting Twitter to go with option #1. This seems like a natural evolution of the platform and adds in new abilities while keeping the basic structure and function of Twitter intact.
This also gives Twitter a new set of information to index and search. Instead of having to take a screenshot of text to share it, users can write a note and share it directly with their followers. Whether this would have an impact on sites like Medium or not I don't know.
If Twitter went with option #2, then I think we'd be seeing the start of a fundamental shift with Twitter. Twitter has always set itself apart as a microblogging platform. Sharing short, text-sized messages is what it is known for. This limit has required people to be creative in order to express themselves at times.
But if Twitter truly increases the tweet size itself to 10,000 characters, you likely need to include support for editing tweets. No one wants to write thousands of characters of text, make a typo, and then be unable to fix it once posted.
At that point, why doesn't Twitter start intelligently showing us tweets they think interest us (or ads that someone has paid to show us)? Once you start down the Facebook path, will it forever dominate your destiny? I'm hoping Twitter won't set foot on that path at all.
Thankfully, a tweet from Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey gives me hope that option #1 is the path they will take.