Have you ever held off from sharing photos and links when tweeting due to the character restrictions imposed? If so, this could be some welcome news for you and your followers.
Microblogging website Twitter is to discount links and photographs from the current 140-character limit for tweets, allowing you and others to express themselves in more detail.
According to the report published by Twitter themselves, the change is imminent, and could potentially be implemented within the next few weeks, although there has been no official confirmation of a start date as of yet.
Many of us have been in the situation where we’ve got a great photo to share or a fantastically witty response to someone else’s tweet, only for it to have to go to waste due to a lack of space. As it stands, links currently take up 23 characters of a tweet which some will undoubtedly feel is too large a proportion, especially when you take into account the already small allowance.
The decision to limit tweets to 140 characters dates back to the company’s launch in 2006, before the availability of smartphones (that’s right kids, they weren’t always available. Some of us were brought up on Motorola T180s – look it up). The limit was originally added to allow tweets to fit into a text message as many users typed their tweets as texts before sending them.
Rumours of Twitter’s shift towards longer posts started in January when founder, Jack Dorsey, revealed that Twitter would explore ways of allowing people to compose lengthier messages. Despite labelling Twitter ‘a beautiful constraint’ and one that ‘inspires creativity and brevity’, clearly something has forced the hands of people at Twitter HQ.
‘We will never lose that feeling’
Experiments have been made over the past few months to determine how people use the service, with the company ultimately looking for new ways to display text. The restrictions on character length have been visible for many years with users finding ways around the limit. For example, some people have sent multiple tweets with a (1/3), (2/3), (3/3) at the end of each to show followers the order in which to read them. Others have used different methods such as tweeting screenshots of longer text composed in notes to get their message across. For the time being, it looks like people will have to continue to use these methods, although whether this will remain the case for the foreseeable future is far from clear.
Earlier this year the company considered raising the character limit to as many as 10,000, causing controversy amongst some users, with one commenting, “The only time I want to use 10,000 characters on Twitter is to say no to this 5,000 times.”
This would be a fairly radical move to boost the fortunes of Twitter compared with the other changes made on the platform in recent times. The Moments feature was introduced to show some of the world’s best tweets, whilst they experimented with mixing up the chronological order of tweets and replacing the “Favourite” stars with “Like” hearts, a feature also available on rival site Facebook.
Choosing to again follow the lead of Facebook by lifting the restrictions on characters may be a potentially divisive move. Famous for its quick and concise nature, its conversational complexion has helped set it apart from the competition.
How do you feel about the potential changes to the Twitter character limit?