Twitter has announced that it will lengthen the 140 character limit for direct messages, however the character limit for public Tweets will remain the same. This got me thinking about a topic I want to explore here on the Htet Tayza blog this week; the genius of the 140 character limit.
Innovation at Twitter
Twitter has released a game-changing announcement post. They used the post as an opportunity to let the world know that they’re scrapping the 140 word character limit for direct messaging. The limit will now be capped at a staggering 10,000 characters.
This is one of a number of strategic alterations the social media site has announced to its service this year. Earlier in 2015, Twitter rolled out changes which allow you to receive private communication from anyone, whether you want to receive it or not. More recently, Twitter has announced that it’s set to introduce landscape video recording for Android and iOS, as well as implement changes measures which will allow people to share blocked user lists.
Maintaining the brand
So what does this mean for the cornerstone of the Twitter service; the public tweet? Nothing; the announcement post said: “You may be wondering what this means for the public side of Twitter. Nothing! Tweets will continue to be the 140 characters they are today.”
I’m not surprised that the media giant has left its 140 public character policy in place. This is because I believe that their entire brand was built on the effectiveness of the 140 character Tweet. According to Forbes Jack Dorsey, the co-founder of Twitter, has a net worth of $2.4 billion. I believe a significant portion of his wealth was built on the success of character limited Tweeting.
Twitter was founded on 21st March 2006. Let’s think about what was happening at that time. The internet had become a firmly established element of global culture, cell phones had become an entrenched part of the fabric of society, and smartphones were only a few short years away from entering the mainstream.
In other words, the limited character Tweet came along at the right time. The ensuing years have seen technology develop even more and this has changed the way we digest information. We don’t set aside an hour to read a feature; with unlimited information available at the touch of a button we jump from article to article, window to window, with the skill of an Olympic acrobat. The 140 character limited Tweet is ideally designed to cater to society’s new way of digesting information.
Catering to society
That’s why I believe that the 140 character public Tweet is genius and why the social media site would have been fools to throw it away. It panders to modern society’s penchant for digesting news and information in chunks that are easy to swallow before moving on to the next news-worthy chunk.