Twitter's 10,000 Character Change

What will the potential strategy change mean and why are they considering it?


Twitter has problems, one of the main being that they are seeing significantly fewer people signing up for the service. The stock price has reflected this, with a high of $73.31 in December 2014 reducing to $17.94 today. This kind of decline in value has shocked many, but with people using the site less and moving to rival networks it is not surprising. 

They have brought in people to try and fix this issue, most famously Jack Dorsey who was appointed as permanent CEO in October 2015 (he was a co-founder of the company originally) and has been tasked with turning the company around and getting them out of this current slump. One of the ways that he has discussed to achieve this is through changing the 140 character limit on tweets and instead replacing it with 10,000 characters.

The move has sparked mixed messages from users of the site, some believing that it allows greater expression, whilst others think that it will rip out the core of what made the site great in the first place. Where Twitter goes from here will be interesting as it will help to mould the company into something almost completely different to what it is today.

So would the 10,000 character be a good thing? We look at both sides of the argument.

Yes It Would

Some users have been clamouring for an increase in the number of characters available in a single message on the microblogging site and there have even been companies created to meet this need. Companies like TwitLonger and Tweet-Long have been relatively successful through using Twitter as almost a display platform before users are directed through to longer versions on their site. If Twitter could therefore do something similar and have people stay on their site rather than being forced to move elsewhere to read more expansive content, this can only be good for the company.

We have previously written about the importance of effective online marketing through native advertising, but with Tweets limited to 140 characters, it has created challenges for companies. Through allowing much more expansive, long-form content to sit directly on Twitter, companies could potentially have significantly better advertising content on the site, rather than necessitating a move from Twitter to another site where the content exists. It means a longer time on page for Twitter and thus better advertising revenue opportunities.

It will also allow them to potentially compete with companies like Tumblr, who offer long form content as well as short form and multimedia. With their larger user base, Twitter have the potential to steal users from Tumblr or at least stop their users migrating over to it.

No It Wouldn't

140 characters is what has made Twitter successful. If you wanted to utilize longer form content you can do so through Facebook, Linkedin, Tumblr or any kind of blogging site. Setting a 10,000 character limit means that Twitter loses what makes it Twitter, the quick glance and click if you're interested. The company have said that user's Timelines will remain the same, with 140 character introductions that expand, but one of the key elements that makes Twitter work is that people are forced to think small and be concise, which often makes for the best content.

Thoughts over the 10,000 character limit seem to be split into two camps, companies who like the idea and consumers who don't. The reason for this is that most people use Twitter to express small opinions or thoughts, whilst companies use it to explain and sell products. Therefore, with this change consumers are worried that the site will become a series of adverts, which will cause them to leave and ironically giving companies fewer people to advertise to.

Essentially the main reason that Twitter's idea isn't good is because it will destroy the very basis of what Twitter is - a microblogging site. It changes it to a blogging site, something that has been around for decades. Therefore it is not an innovative move, simply pandering to what some loud voices want, imagine if Apple had spent their time making changes to the iPod because loud voices told them to, rather than spending that time developing the iPhone, something that people didn't even know they wanted. 

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