I’ve been seeing a lot of outrage the last several days about the news that Twitter intends, maybe as early as this quarter, to update the character limit for tweets from 140 characters to 10,000 characters. This example over at Ars Technica is a good example of what I’ve been reading. Peter Bright tells us why it’s terrible, how its going to kill Twitter, and explains all of the ways we already have to make longer tweets.
He’s even got some valid points but here’s the thing: it’s clear that lots of people want to have longer tweets. From the folks posting longer messages via picture (as Jack Dorsey did to announce this thing) to the folks breaking up longer thoughts into multiple tweets it becomes obvious that there is a desire out there to be able to do more. People want to have conversations on Twitter and it just isn’t feasible with 140 characters. Hell most of the time you don’t even get 140 characters since @ replies, tags, etc. all take up space out of those 140 characters. The folks like Bright want us all to post pithy, short, tweets. We need, they say, to put more thought into every tweet. “Conform to 140!” they shout. If we don’t want to do that we shouldn’t be there.
I’ve got a different thought: if you don’t want to use more than 140 characters then don’t, and let the rest of us write the way we want to write. When Twitter expands the character count there will be nothing forcing you to become “lazy”. Keep posting 140 characters all you’d like. Me? I’ll post freely thank-you and not worry about being pithy.
I want to have conversations on Twitter. Others do as well. So let’s stop all of the doom and gloom because this won’t ruin Twitter. It isn’t going to make it Facebook. It will make it better. Will it make it different? Sure but in a direction it seems many want it to go anyway.