You’ve probably been hearing rumors for months now about imminent changes in the way Twitter works. The social platform has sort of fallen into a rut and stagnated to an extent, and an array of potential ideas have been tossed about in an effort to give it new life. One of the ideas that has gained a lot of traction is the idea of removing the 140-character limit on tweets. Apparently, though, Twitter will keep the 140-character limit and just let you actually use more of it.
In January there was speculation that Twitter might extend the tweet capacity to 10,000 characters. That is a ridiculously massive number of characters that would fundamentally change the scope and utility of Twitter. In theory, only the first 140 characters would have been displayed still, but followed by an ellipses that you could click to view the rest of the novel…I mean tweet.
Thankfully, that rumor didn’t pan out. Hopefully the latest one will, though. Now there is a strong rumor circulating that Twitter will keep the 140-character limit for tweets, but stop counting the links and photos against the cap.
Almost every tweet I have sent includes both a URL and a photo. The URL is because I am generally tweeting to share a recent post or interesting website that I need to link to, and the photo is because studies show that social media posts that include photos get significantly more attention and interaction. The problem is that the URL and photo combined end up using about 50 of the 140 characters available in a tweet, which doesn’t leave much for the actual text of the message.
Not counting URLs and photos would free up more than a third of the tweet content so you could actually form coherent thoughts and complete sentences, without having to rely completely on acronyms and text-speak. It also makes more characters available for hashtags or for tagging other Twitter accounts in the tweet.
I was very cynical about the idea of 10,000 character tweets, but this is a plan I support completely. I hope it’s true, and I hope Twitter rolls out the change immediately. Being able to use the whole 140 characters without counting the URL and photo against it will be a game changer—yet maintains the core identity and value of Twitter at the same time.