For a long while, something that remained unique to Twitter and no other social media site was the length of the posts a person could make. Unlike Facebook and other social media sites, Twitter has maintained at 140 character limit for every tweet on its site. While some different applications allowed users to extend the limit, the limit offered within Twitter was still kept at 140 characters overall.
Now there is talk that all of this might be changing. The Chief Executive of Twitter posted a message suggesting that Twitter will be altering its limit to a much larger number of characters. In the message, he states that at the beginning the intention was not to limit Twitter users to a specific number of characters and that this came about to make it possible to fit a Tweet within the length of a SMS message. Since so many changes have been made since the site’s launch, it seems practical for the character limit to be extended.
One of the main reasons that Twitter is considering this change is because users have been finding other ways to extend their character limits. Users can do this by using specific applications on their phones or by screenshotting a larger body of text to post as a picture. This suggests that users want to be able to post longer messages on Twitter. Twitter’s approach to these workarounds seems to be that it is better to join them than to fight them.
Many users are worried about the idea of longer character limits within Twitter. They feel that this will change the social media site and shift the focus from short messages and quick conversations between individuals. Others argue that there is no problem with changing the limit and in fact this would be beneficial in many ways. Screenshot text is not searchable or highlightable which can make it more challenging for it to be used within the Twitter medium. Changing the limit for text would allow more text on Twitter that could be searched and used in conversation. Additionally, Twitter would continue to show only the first 140 characters of a tweet to keep Twitter feeds from being filled with large pieces of text.
Changing the limit on characters is definitely beneficial to Twitter itself since this will allow users to actually post what they want to on their Twitter feed. Twitter won’t have to deal with people sharing links to full stories which cause people to leave their site to learn more. Extending the length of a Tweet beyond 140 characters is likely to allow this social media site to grow and change in new and unprecedented ways.