I must say – I adore Twitter. Since very beginning I was bought with the idea of sharing content, which is limited to 140 characters and which makes me to be as specific as I possibly can. To be honest, it also was a great fun for professionals to formulate precise, direct public message, because at the end of the day it’s all that matters — delivering clear message to the world. Still, with the great comeback of Dorsey as Twitter’s CEO we’ve seen a huge progress in changing nature of the platform.
We have self-service ad platform on nearly every market (with some limitations), progressive integration with Periscope and expanded limit in private messages. Twitter came a long way from the moment we used to perceive it as a microblogging site, and very recent decision regarding setting 10.000-character limit is definitely a groundbreaking move in a history of social media platforms.
From my perspective, despite changing Twitter’s core experience, I don’t really feel that expanded limit will scare people and make them leave. In fact, many users and brands already handle with limit by using graphics, videos or any kind of content that can carry more than few words. According to the rumors, new expanded tweets will still have parts of 140-character limit idea with „view more” addition showing more content. Even if this news is not 100% confirmed and, at some level, may change, it hints that Twitter really want to focus on native formats and make us stay on the platform as long as possible. This process is affecting many platforms — even Facebook very recently refreshed its Notes feature and currently is testing Instant Articles, giving publishers opportunity to extend their reach further.
From brands’ perspective it’s really good news.
Sometimes several tweets in a row might be considered as a spam, especially when some of them contain media like links or videos with very little value for a reader. In other cases, we’re following the discussions, where there is a need to act quick and 140 characters aren’t enough to formulate an argument. As long as dialogue stands behind the idea of every social media platform, with extended limit, Twitter is making things more clear right now.
— jack (@jack) January 5, 2016
Longer tweets are also making more sense, when we look on last year’s integration with Google Search results. Users, who don’t follow certain brands on Twitter (or maybe aren’t even the part of Twitter’s community) will be able to discover more, if publishers will focus on creating engaging, valuable content — now enhanced with Google’s capabilities. Twitter already offers some powerful and easy to use analytical tools – starting from measuring the engagement for individual tweet, through audience insights and ending with video activity measure (still in beta though). I’m pretty sure that extra characters can be another good reason to expand those features.
Taking all above into account, on first sight it seems that all parts of Dorsey’s plan, gathered together, make a lot of sense.
More time spent on longer tweet, gives more opportunities to display ads and eventually to sell products. It actually already happened, when Twitter started to implement changes in terms of photos (full-size display) or Periscope broadcasts, which currently can be experiences on Twitter’s timeline. My only concern is, those changes are quite rapid and still it take some time for publishers to accustom to new formats and their potential effectiveness. Recent revelations regarding VIP users and Twitter’s no-ad approach to the most active ones doesn’t make it easier to make decision for optimal budget allocation.
So, at the end of the day — is it going to work?
Frankly speaking, I don’t know. What I do know, is this post already has little bit more than 4.000 characters (with spaces) and I can’t believe that most of users will take advantage from full potential of 10.000 characters in regular communication. After all, Twitter has its roots in instant messaging and I think that “few” extra lines will just remain as a part of platform’s evolution.