Digital & Social Media

Twitter Rumored to Move Beyond 140

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What Happened:

Recent reports announced that Twitter’s historical limit of 140 characters per tweet may soon be gone, though these reports are unconfirmed and the change has not happened yet. Some sources have stated that an increase in the character count of tweets may occur toward the end of Q1 2016. When Twitter changed the character count of direct messages (DMs) on its platform, these messages increased from 140 to 10,000 characters, which led some to assume that the same increase would take place, if the decision was made to allow public tweets to be longer.

With any platform change, Twitter intends to retain the look and feel of the user timeline, and may currently be testing a version of the timeline that only displays 140 characters until a user clicks through to reveal additional content. This design is also rumored and not final.

What This Means for Brands:

A tweet sent by CEO Jack Dorsey is the closest Twitter has come to speaking publicly about the feature. The tweet stated that the company is open to changing and updating whatever makes sense for Twitter as long as it is consistent with what the users want –including possibly changing the platform’s traditional reverse chronological timeline. The rumor, in addition to other recent changes, makes clear that Twitter is not afraid to make drastic changes to its product.

Twitter’s user base isn’t exactly open to change. While the increased character limit in DMs seemed to have little impact on the majority of users, the most recent change on the platform – from favorites with star icons to likes with hearts – was met with annoyance and resentment from many Twitter fans.Experts note that the design aspect of any Twitter change will be key. In the past, enlarging tweets and images reduced user engagement, as it took longer for a user to scroll through their Twitter timeline.

After the announcement of a possible character count change, Twitter’s shares plummeted more than two percent and closed for the day at a new record low for the company. If the rumored update takes effect, some foresee a shift in the way tweets are consumed – from microblogs to regular blogs.