Twitter Developing New Product to Go Beyond 140 Characters

Published: September 30, 2015 8:49 PM /


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Twitter may be ditching its distinctive 140 character limit soon. According to Re/code, sources close to the company have stated that Twitter is working on a new product that will enable users to publish long-form content to the site. It appears as though actual tweets will still be limited to 140 characters. This product might work something like a TwitLonger, which is a third-party service which allows users to write long posts which are then linked to in a tweet. However, this is just speculative, the exact details of Twitter's new product are unknown beyond the fact that it lets users post long-form content.

Aside from its new product, Twitter is also considering adjusting how the 140 characters for tweets are calculated. Proposals include not counting links or user handles when calculating the character limit. This would give user more room to write their message, even if they want to mention several different users in a single tweet. Twitter has already eased the 140 character limit somewhat, when it added the retweet with comment a few months ago. That feature gave users more space to write responses to other tweets. Twitter also recently removed the 140 character limit on private messages.

These changes are likely an attempt by Twitter to attract more users. Twitter interim CEO Jack Dorsey had some critical comments to make about the company when its second quarter growth in 2015 was the lowest since the company went public in 2013. At the time he had stated, "Product initiatives we’ve mentioned in previous earnings calls like Instant Timelines and logged-out experiences have not yet had meaningful impact on growing our audience or participation. This is unacceptable, and we’re not happy about it."

Quick Take

Offering a way for users to post longer messages may be a way to compete with other social media platforms that do not have an annoying character limit. In its current state, Twitter is simply not a platform that can handle intelligent discussion, and anyone trying to express a complex thought simply links to another site in a tweet. This new product could change Twitter into something completely different, and hopefully something better.

Will this new product make Twitter a worthwhile place to have discussions, or will it remain a cesspool? Leave your comments below.

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| Senior Writer

I’m a technology reporter located near the Innovation District of Kitchener-Waterloo, Ontario.