It’s official. After months of rumors and speculation about if or how Twitter would change the iconic 140-character limit of tweets, the company officially unveiled changes today. Most of the news fits with the rumors from last week, with a few notable exceptions.
One of the things that makes Twitter such a unique and valuable social networking platform is also one of its Achilles heel that can limit its functionality: the 140-character limit. In the wake of steady rumors that changes were coming, Twitter announced new rules today that will allow you to fit more into your tweets without fundamentally altering the iconic 140-character max.
Earlier this year there was speculation that Twitter might expand that 140-character limit to a nauseating long 10,000 characters. I am glad Twitter didn’t go that route. I wrote at the time, “10,000 characters is a lot. Here is some perspective for you. I just finished writing an article that was 602 words. It is nine paragraphs long and occupies about a page-and-a-half of a standard Microsoft Word page. It is only 3,796 characters long—including the spaces. A 10,000-character max would essentially mean that a “tweet” could amount to a 3-page, 1,500-word novella.”
Last week rumors began to swirl that Twitter would simply stop counting some of the extraneous elements as part of the 140 characters. In other words, things like image attachments, links, or including other Twitter accounts would ostensibly not be included, so you could use more of the 140 characters to actually say what you want to say. While it isn’t exactly the same as the rumor, what Twitter unveiled today is very close to the speculation from last week.
When Twitter first launched based on its arbitrary max of 140 characters per tweet, it hadn’t envisioned how the platform would explode, or how it would evolve in terms of rich engagement through photos, videos, hashtags, etc. Most of my tweets include both a link and a photo. Those two elements alone consume about 50 of the 140 characters, leaving very little room for the message itself, or including any @names to expand the reach of the conversation.
See the full post on Forbes: Fit More Into Your Tweets With New Rules From Twitter.