Tweets are known for their brevity, and at 140 characters or less, they are designed to be quick, sharp snippets of text. But soon, fans of the hugely popular social media platform might see messages get longer much longer, expanding to a potential 10,000-character length.
The news was first reported by Re/code, which said Twitter is targeting a launch date toward the end of the first quarter of this year for the product that would let users tweet much longer messages, according to multiple sources familiar with the company’s plans.
The same sources referenced 10,000 characters as a potential new length limit, which is currently the maximum number of characters allowed in a Twitter Direct Message. The project is being referred to as “Beyond 140.”
The character limit that forces users to pen snappy tweets could give way to the longer essays found on Facebook. It could transform Twitter into more of a public blogging platform rather than one that is succinct and well-suited to quips and breaking news headlines.On Tuesday, the rumors over this proposed change sent users, well, a-twitter, with many complaints that Twitter might be divering too far afield from what differentiated it from competing platforms like Facebook.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted out a screenshot of a message that addressed some user concerns.
“At its core, Twitter is public messaging. A simple way to say something, to anyone, that everyone in the world can see instantly,” he wrote. “We didn’t start Twitter with a 140 character restriction. We added that early on to fit into a single SMS message (160 characters).”
Dorsey continued on to call the limit “a beautiful constraint” that “inspires creativity and brevity.” He said that providing users with searchable text instead of content that uses are taking screen shots of from elsewhere could have “more utility and power.”
— 🚶🏽jack (@jack) January 5, 2016
What will this do for Twitter, which has been going through something of an identity crisis as other competing social media options have emerged? Fiegerman suggested that for investors looking at the company, time will soon tell.
“I think what will spook Twitter investors is if they do all of this and they don’t budge growth at all,” he said. “That’s what we’ll see in the next six months to a year.”