UPDATE: In November 2017, Twitter officially increased the character limit of tweets to 280.
Only time will tell if this is a good move or not. I don’t think to increase the character limit of tweets is the issue. Instead, Twitter should focus on how it’s going to stay relevant.
As far back as September 2015, there were claims that Twitter intended lifting its 140 character limit.
These claims have some credibility by Jack Dorsey, the CEO of Twitter in a tweet (see below).
— jack (@jack) January 5, 2016
In the tweet, he notes that Twitter’s 140 character limit inspires creativity, brevity and a sense of speed.
These three qualities are what endears me most to Twitter and are what makes it stand out among the several social networks in existence today.
The 140 character limit has become a sort of identity or trademark for the social network right from the start.
That is one of the things that makes Twitter unique and exciting for the business, especially in business and in today’s attention deficit world.
Why is Twitter Considering This Change?
Its dwindling stock prices, stagnating active user growth are amongst the primary reasons why Twitter is considering any and everything that it can do to turn things around.
In his tweet, the CEO mentioned that they have noticed “people are taking screenshots of text and tweeting it”.
To me, these are all part of the creative ways people are using Twitter and not necessarily a cry for an increase in the characters of tweets.
Instead of focusing on increasing the character limit of tweets, I believe Twitter should turn its attention to how to remain relevant.
One of the things that make a social network successful is its ability to stay connected to the daily lives of its users.
The likes of Facebook, LinkedIn, and so on are successful because they have found creative ways to remain relevant in the daily lives of their users.
For instance, Facebook uses Instagram, WhatsApp and Messenger as a means of staying relevant.
Once a social network stops being relevant, it starts to dwindle and die like Myspace, Friendster, etc.
Twitter has introduced Vine, Periscope, Twitter Cards, and so on all in an attempt to remain relevant to its users. And these have been well received.
Recently too, it increased the character limit of Direct Messages, which is also a step in the right direction, especially for businesses who use Twitter as a customer service tool.
Now that Twitter says it will allow Periscope live videos to be streamed live on Twitter, this to me is another step in the right direction.
Twitter is my favourite social network and the one I spend most of my time on Twitter.
It allows me to listen to and engage with users from across the globe.
I get to hear and learn the latest news and updates on topics like digital and social media marketing that are of interest to me.
The ‘short and sweet’ nature of 140 character tweets appeals to me. So I feel that increasing the number of characters in a tweet seems like a mistake.
But whether it is or not only time will tell.
It is essential for businesses regardless of their size to innovate rather than remain stagnant.
“Innovate or die” as the saying goes. Over to you. Do you think this is the right move for Twitter or not?
Share your thoughts in the comments below. I look forward to hearing your opinion.