They just won’t die off; last September, rumours surfaced that Twitter was considering dropping its 140-character limit. Yesterday, more fuel was added to the fire by claims that the company is considering a 10,000 character-limit.
That’s a huge margin. You will remember that Twitter already increased the limit for Direct Messages to the same 10,000 characters. So the figure is not all surprising. But then we have to remember this is just a rumour.
According to Re/code the feature, which is being tested internally with codename “Beyond 140”, will be implemented in a way that will not tamper with the current User Experience:
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. The point of this is to keep the same look and feel for your timeline, although this design is not necessarily final, sources say.
It would seem that Twitter wants to become some sort of full-on blogging platform. Or is at least looking for ways to help users say more in a single tweet. But there are already a number of features (official and unofficial) that achieve the desired result. As I wrote in a previous post:
Over the years, users have continued to demand for an expansion of the character limit. Twitter has responded in several interesting ways, from introducing Twitter cards, the ability to quote Tweets and, most recently, allowing unlimited characters in DMs. But for most users, these just don’t quite cut it. Users have since found workarounds using tools like twitlonger (mostly now out of fashion) and, more recently, services like OneShot which allows them send screenshots of long text to Twitter. User have also picked up the the habit of Twitterstorms, which some find annoying.
Twitter also owns external platforms like Vine and Medium that really do allow users say more with less. Twitter is doing just fine the way it is. Let’s not even talk about the huge burden it would be on Twitter’s servers, if users were uploading 10,000-character tweets every second.
Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey, has responded to the rumours with an ironically screenshoted text (and somewhat cryptic) tweet.
— jack (@jack) January 5, 2016
Bottomline. The 140-character limit is going away alright, but there is no mention of a 10,000-character limit. Rather, Twitter is looking for creative ways to incorporate some of the unofficial ways we currently use the service to say more. That is the most probable approach. It’s the same way mentions, retweets and hashtags, were invented by users before being officially adopted by Twitter.
Forget about the 10,000 character-limit increase. It’s never happening.