Should Twitter be extending its character limit?

As we’ve discussed in previous articles, Twitter has recently become a platform that focuses more on content and news rather than the conversational tool it was originally born as, therefore the latest announcement from Twitter that they plan to remove the 140 character limit in place of 10,000 characters has come as no surprise to us. But its selling point has always been the fact that it gives its users bite-sized content so is the decision a wise one? 

The 140 character limit is a part of Twitters personality, introducing the 10k character scope is a brave move and proves that Twitter isn’t afraid to make big changes to evolve the platform but we can’t help but wonder what is going to differentiate the platform now? What makes it any different to any other content driven platforms, such as Tumblr or even LinkedIn. Content is fundamental to achieving immersive connections with the customer, but only if the content is relevant and what the user wants.

It feels like recently Twitter has been making reactive decisions without much thought behind them. They want to entice new users, but changes such as Twitter moments, the ‘while you were away’ feature and the discussion around changing the order that users see tweets, don’t seem to have increased user growth or been that popular with existing users - so it does make you wonder what research is backing these moves and whether Twitter are putting their users first.

Twitter is built on its bite-sized content, something that many believe has been the platforms biggest selling point from the beginning, allowing users to scroll a feed and be delivered snapshots of information is how users have always used it. However, Twitter’s fear comes from knowing that users aren’t necessarily engaging with tweets anymore, it is not so much the conversational platform it once was, people tend to simply scan twitter or tweet and turn off and it could be argued that giving a larger character limit isn’t necessarily going to make content anymore engaging.

Brands need to work on making the right content for the right platforms. The move could make content creators feel forced to host their content on Twitter, rather than allowing Twitter to be the broadcast support platform it always has been.

Twitter is right to focus on its strengths in news and content, but how it is delivered to users and the value they get from it will determine whether this change is a good thing or a bad thing as Twitter need to ensure they do not pull away from their core strength of delivering bite-sized content, this is what gives Twitter its USP. It’s why people choose it over other platforms. 

However, to survive and give value to marketers the platform does need to become more engaging AND keep people within the site, something current bitly links do not do. The 10k character scope needs to retain and build on Twitters unique bitesize feature by allowing brands to publish content which not only immerses the user more buts puts the user in charge of the way they want to consume it. 

So our advice to Twitter put the user at the heart of your development, all social media is user driven and Twitter must not forget that.