Twitter: To 140 and Beyond

140 characters. Hardly enough to finish a thought, right?


“Twitter’s CEO @jack recently announced that the social media platform is considering increasing the amount of characters it allows in each tweet…”

Abbreviations and emojis can help, but 140 characters can only carry so much meaning before you run out of room and have to begin another tweet.

January 5, 2016, Jack Dorsey, Twitter co-founder and CEO, sent out a tweet regarding current rumors that the social media platform is considering increasing the character limit to 10,000, just a tad bit higher than their current 140 character limit. This update, internally referred to as “Beyond 140,” would be a way for users to send tweets as long as direct messages instead of tweeting screenshots of lengthy text. Twitter is already a tricky platform to manage and see meaningful results, but choosing to update to a 10,000 character limit will completely change the game for social media marketers and regular users alike.

Constantly being able to stay on top of the ever-evolving platforms of the cyber universe is what makes a social media marketer an expert in the field. Keeping up with Facebook updates keeps the majority of us busy, but social media marketers may soon view Twitter as equally as challenging to keep track of. The majority of users utilize Twitter as a customer service channel or a resource for quick news highlights. With the update you will only be able to view the first 140 characters of each tweet, but the expansion of characters may change the use of the platform entirely.

What does this mean for marketers?

From the perspective of a social media marketer the fear that this update will diminish user engagement and ruin the entire platform is very realistic. Longer tweets could turn the platform into another version Facebook, where long-winded posts become bothersome and are, more often than not, mindlessly scrolled past. Dorsey said that Twitter did not start out with a character restriction – it was added on in the early stages so people could send tweets in a single 160 character SMS message. It may not have been at the core of the original idea, but Twitter’s character limit is one of the main aspects separating it from being another Facebook. Dorsey even stated that the current limit “inspires creativity and brevity”.

Many believe that the purpose of this drastic update may be to ignite user growth. Twitter has recently seen a stalling of user engagement and growth. This update would make Twitter an even trickier platform to tackle. Creating engaging and successful tweets could become more difficult than they already are and the ability to differentiate between Facebook and Twitter feeds may soon be a feat.