The short, sharp content offered by tweets, which are limited to 140 characters, is part of what has made Twitter a phenomenon, but it now looks as though the social media platform is going to extend that limit – and then some.
A 10,000 character limit may be on the cards, the same length as the recently introduced allowance for Direct Messages – private messages users can exchange with mutual followers.
The move is seen by many as a logical step towards Twitter increasing its user base, which currently stands at 300 million – well short of Facebook’s one billion-plus users.
Twitter CEO and Co-founder Jack Dorsey tweeted that the company had noticed many of its users have been including screenshots of longer texts in their tweets, and said that it would not ” be shy about building more utility and power into Twitter”. However, he also pointed out that the stricter limit “inspires creativity and brevity and a sense of speed”.
Twitter has not made a profit since it launched in 2006, and with Facebook making £579million between July and September last year alone it is not difficult to understand why Dorsey is willing to consider making such a drastic change.
If the limit were to be extended up to 10,000 characters, it would mean people could post tweets of around 1,700 words.
Dorsey was one of four people who created Twitter in 2006 and returned as CEO last year following his departure in 2008. He was instrumental in making the decision to limit tweets to 140 characters, which was done to allow tweets to be sent by short message service (SMS) from mobile phones, which can send messages of up to160 characters in total.
While the 140 character limit may now feel a little, well, limiting, it makes Twitter unique and gave tweets a now instantly-recognisable visual identity as hashtags and abbreviations have been adopted by users to get their message across within the limit.
Such a drastic change could alienate users who are fans of the short, pithy text message style, but others, especially those looking to produce and distribute more substantial content, will be excited by the prospect of longer Tweets.