Longer tweets are coming soon to Twitter and the reaction to the possibility of 10,000 character tweets has been overwhelmingly negative, but Jack Dorsey has his reasons.
Twitter is currently testing a version of the product in which tweets appear the same way they do now, displaying just 140 characters, with some kind of call to action that there is more content you can’t see. Clicking on the tweets would then expand them to reveal more content.
When Jack Dorsey sent the first tweet on March 21 2006. There were no apps, and mobile phone messages were almost exclusively sent by text.
The limits of text messages were precisely how Dorsey and his fellow founders arrived at the 140-character limit that came to define Twitter. Before the smartphone era, tweets were designed to be sent by text, which were limited to 160 characters (the extra 20 was set aside for usernames). In the 10 years since, we’ve all bought smartphones, and text messages have been replaced by apps.
With regards to expanded tweets, Twitter is also working out a plan for how to deal with potential spamming issues that might arise with an expanded character count, according to sources. It’s unknown, for example, if Twitter will restrict how many users can be mentioned in a single tweet, but the company is apparently thinking through those scenarios. Twitter plans to talk with some of its analytics and measurement partners to prepare them to handle longer tweets beginning later this month, sources say.
Like all social networks, so much of Twitter’s product is its users, and so the success or failure of a new feature rests in how they apply it. Upping the character limit is expected by the end of March, so we won’t know whether this new idea will vastly improve Twitter or ruin it until then. What is certain is that this is one of the biggest gambles that Dorsey has taken so far.