Twitter are Planning to Increase the Character Limit

Upcoming Changes to Twitter's 140 Character Limit

Recent rumours suggest that social media giant Twitter plan to increase their characters-per-tweet limit from 140 to 10,000.

Reports from multiple sources within the company have indicated that Twitter have begun to create a new build for the popular social media platform. The most high profile feature of this new build will be to allow users to tweet longer posts than the traditional 140 character limit. It has been suggested that the new character limit will rise to 10,000, the same limit as in ‘direct messages’, although this is as yet unconfirmed.

Although we do not know for exactly how long Twitter has been planning to increase the character limit, Re/code indicated the project nicknamed ‘Beyond 140’ had been in the works back in September. Since then, Jack Dorsey (Twitter CEO) has tweeted in defence of the potential changes which had users worried.

Jack Dorsey Twitter Character Increase

Image source: Twitter

Dorsey claims the character increase will make content more ‘searchable’, making it easier for people to find what they’re interested in. This makes sense, as many people have been using images containing text as a way around the character limit; this text is not readable by the search tool.

‘Your window to the world’

Twitter works as a place for people all over the world to discover and share whatever they want, be it thoughts, feelings, ideas or events; if something interesting has happened somewhere, you can guarantee it’s being tweeted about. The microblogging site has become popular with almost everyone, from your average Joe to the President of the United States Barack Obama, offering you ‘direct access to the most interesting people’. Users can follow people they find interesting, such as friends and celebrities, with the ability to retweet and favourite their tweets, similar to the way ‘share’ and ‘like’ function on Facebook.

How would it work?

A large concern many users have over the changes is the loss of the speed and creativity that the existing character constraint forces users to employ in their tweets. The current system makes scrolling through the Twitter feed a very simple and enjoyable experience. Reports seem to be suggesting that if the character limit were to increase, in the Twitter feed you would only see a regular sized preview of a tweet even if it were to exceed the 140 characters, and that selecting it would then unveil the rest of the tweet.

Hidden agenda?

Another possible motivation behind the change, put forward by Alex Hern from The Guardian, suggests that Twitter may be looking to meet shareholders’ demands rather than those of its users. At present, a common theme for the average Twitter user’s behaviour is to login to their account, scroll through a few posts, spot an article somebody has posted and then click through and away from Twitter, spending the rest of their time reading said article before putting their phone down. The new measures could be an attempt to keep these users on the site, giving Twitter more power over the whole process by allowing the articles to be shown on the Twitter feed itself, rather than operating as a means to get to them.

When will we see it?

Rumour has it that Twitter are planning to increase the character limit as early as March, although a release date has not yet been officially confirmed. What we do know is that developers will be warned in advance so they can prepare for the changes, so there shouldn’t be any sudden shocks. Either way, businesses using social media as a marketing tool should prepare themselves for a big shift in how Twitter can be used effectively.

For more information and guidance on how to make the most of your business’s social media presence, and for a free social audit, feel free to contact us.

Ryan Sedgwick
Managing Director & Marketing Consultant at Impact Digital Markeitng
A Chartered Marketer, Ryan has gained extensive B2B and B2C marketing experience working across a broad spectrum of industries. Having graduated with a Masters in Marketing Communications from the University of Huddersfield, Ryan successfully utilises his skills and knowledge to effectively support businesses in getting the most from their marketing investments.