While I haven’t been on top of the whole possible Twitter-Gate controversy, or whatever it’s been labeled by the media, I do have an opinion. I know, I know! “But James, we don’t care what your opinion is. Besides, it’s just a rumor, anyways! Geez, grow up!” I hear ya, I hear ya. But all the same, I’m due a blog post, so here we go.
From The Guardian: Twitter shares hit new low on rumored shift to 10,000-character tweets
So, Twitter is rumored to be considering expanding the character limit of user tweets. Currently, you have a 140-character limit per tweet. This leads to multiple tweets if you have a large message you’re trying to provide another user or larger audience. In other words, if you have a lot to say, you’re going to be breaking it down into several short tweets just to say it. This also means you’re going to have to decide how best to break up this message. How many words per tweet, do you include punctuation? Do you use abbreviations, acronyms? It can get complicated, so for the most part, the folks I associate with try to stay within 140-characters for a single solid message. Ta-da! Microblogging.
Here’s the thing, I’m sitting here explaining what Twitter is and how to use it, but you already know that! But that’s just my introduction into how I formed my opinion on the 10,000-character increase. Here it is: I don’t think they should do it.
Because if you’re prepared to write 10,000-characters, you’re prepared to write even more than that. That, my friends, is what Facebook is for. Better yet, that’s what blogs are for. Emails, remember them? No character limit if you want to send a long message to a person in private. Once you expand the tweet limit to 10,000-characters, you’re asking for congestion somewhere down the line.
If you want to expand the character count on tweets, start small. Stick to what you’re good at, which is “microblogging,” and just tack on a few more characters. I think 200-character tweets would be perfect. We’ve already become accustomed to 140-characters, so by giving us 60 more, you’re doing us a huge favor by allowing us to also throw in some punctuation here and there.
The biggest problem Twitter really has is the fact that replying to someone uses up valuable real estate in a 140-character tweet. If you want to do everyone a favor, fix it, somehow, to where @xyz reply targets don’t use up our character space. Have it designated to a different line, sort of like the To: field in an email. I’ve seen numerous times where several different people will be involved in a tweet, and halfway down they’re replying back to a dozen people and are left with only enough room for maybe two or three words in reply. Come on, that’s something that needs to be addressed right there.
No, I don’t think expanding the character count by that great a number is a good idea. Does something need to be done about other issues, such as @replies taking up valuable space? Yes. And while I get that expanding character values would help that, it isn’t a real answer to the problem.
Speaking of problems you already need to address, how about we get rid of that horrible “Moments” tab? Especially on the mobile side. Ugh, how annoying. And they’ve already changed their “Favorite” button to “Like,” just like Facebook. Heck, it sounds like that’s what Twitter’s trying to do! They’re trying to make it a clone of Facebook. Longer posts, “like” buttons, Moments. Next thing you know they’ll be trying to rename it to something goofy like TweetBook.
That’s my $0.02 worth.
But I’m out of time, folks, they’re giving me the sign behind the curtain to wrap it up. So have a good night, a good day, a great week. I’ll see you on the other side.