We’re hearing a lot about Twitter lately. The social media platform is trying all kinds of things to try help its user growths and, unfortunately, most of its attempts don’t seem to be making much of a difference. The only update that seems somewhat promising is its testing of the new Twitter Lite, but we’ll need a little more time to see if it truly will have an effective impact on the recruitment of more members – or on keeping existing users happy and tweeting.
The latest idea Twitter has come up with is allowing users to post more characters per tweet – exactly twice as much, bringing the cap from 140 characters all the way up to 280 characters. To me, this seems to go against everything Twitter is (or was?) supposed to be about. The challenge (and purpose, in my honest opinion), is (was) to be able to express oneself clearly while remaining succinct. The reaction to the update has been mixed. Some Twitter users agree with me that increasing post length to 280 characters takes away the essence of what Twitter used to be. Others seem more than happy to test the new feature and argue that it makes it easier to express themselves without using shortcuts like ‘bc’, ‘imho’ and ‘u’, making posts easier to read and more accessible to everyone.
Aliza Rosen, product manager at Twitter, said “In all markets, when people don’t have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and actually have some to spare, we see more people tweeting” in a rather long and not very informative blog post – and followed this statement with a rather contradictory “Twitter is about brevity. It’s what makes it such a great way to see what’s happening. Tweets get right to the point with the information or thoughts that matter. That is something we will never change”. Ok, so 280 characters might still be brief by some standards, but at this point I feel like Twitter would go up to novella-size tweets if it thought the update would keep them afloat for a few more weeks.
I’m not convinced that people will tweet more often now that they have the opportunity to post longer tweets. In fact, I think that Twitter may lose some of its most zealous members because of the change. But I could be wrong. Let’s wait and see.