It has been rumoured today that Twitter is about to create a product that banishes its much-loved 140 character limit in an effort to entice new users - much to the dismay of the Twitter community.
So what is it about a tweet’s word economy that works so well? And what will the network become if/when it allows posts that would give War & Peace a run for its money?
For me, the beauty of the humble tweet lies in the power of brevity. Whether we’re tweeting about web design or general goings on at the agency, character restrictions force us to work a bit harder to create punchier posts - compressing thoughts into bite-size morsels. To some, tweeting is an art in itself - but in any case, scanning a feed of 140-character tweets allows us to digest more content in a limited amount of time - which lends itself perfectly to the immediacy of the channel, and its ability to spread messages far and wide at warp speed.
Then there’s the question of how Twitter will look if the rumours are true. The Twitterati have certainly made their feelings known. The enforced character limit is what differentiates Twitter from Facebook. Will we be subjected to blow-by-blow accounts of family holidays and beloved pets’ trips to the vets?
Here’s what the Twitterverse had to say:
twitter might remove the 140 character limit so i'm putting some 800 word tweets with character development & plot twists in my drafts
— Desus Nice (@desusnice) September 30, 2015
twitter getting rid of the 140-character limit is a bad idea. the ability to say what you need to say in as few words as possible is (1/533)
— andy levy (@andylevy) September 29, 2015
Twitter plans to exceed 140-char limit. My advice: don't make it a "new product", bake it into Twitter proper. http://t.co/PKugGQdhU1
— kottke.org (@kottke) September 29, 2015
Pushing the character limit over 140 could very well prove to be Twitter's gradual demise. Brevity has held the charm here for us.
— Shakti Shetty (@Shakti_Shetty) September 29, 2015
I desperately want Twitter to keep the 140 character limit because it ensures brevity and encourages us all to really think about what we sa
— Mark Wallace (@wallaceme) September 30, 2015
It remains to be seen how this product will roll out - if indeed it does - but one thing is for sure: the enforced character limit is part of the fabric of Twitter’s identity and, if its users are to be believed, it would be sorely missed.
What do you think?