Why Longer Tweets Are A Big Deal
Twitter has finally rolled out a big change that was first announced in May that allows for slightly longer Tweets. GIFs, polls, and videos, as well as Quote Tweets and @names in replies no longer count toward the 140 character limit. This means, that for the first time, Tweets are longer.
Say more about what's happening! Rolling out now: photos, videos, GIFs, polls, and Quote Tweets no longer count toward your 140 characters. pic.twitter.com/I9pUC0NdZC
— Twitter (@twitter) September 19, 2016
Observations on Longer Tweets
It took Twitter way too long to do this, which is concerning considering that it is widely perceived to be dying since 2009. When the Boston Marathon bombs went off and also when the recent bombings in New York happened, people finally revived their Twitter profiles again. Most people seem to be using Twitter only as newsfeed nowadays, but it wasn’t always like that. Twitter used to be a revolutionary micro-blogging platform mainly because of its 140 character limit. Early on however, users started complaining about the limitations of that.
As a matter of fact, in July 2007, Twitter cofounder Jack Dorsey himself tweeted that not everything can be said in under 140 characters:
some things can't be said in under 140 characters. especially after some champagne.
— 🚶🏽jack (@jack) July 19, 2007
After a less than ideal IPO filing, the social network has been under attack multiple times and performance has just not been consistent. The one thing that has been consistent however, is the 140 character limit. Every now and then there is a rumor that Twitter will release a 10k character limit as a new Tweet format. Except that never happened. The reason the latest change is a big deal is because for the first time, Twitter is changing how much people can get out of the 140 character limit.
The big question now is whether this update is simply too late to get anyone excited about it and, may be more importantly, whether it backfires. It may be that the company held back this update to enable longer Tweets until the right point in time to boost stocks. If that is the case, the impact of the change was nearly insignificant which means that Twitter keeps sinking: