Twitter. It’s made politicians use “u” and “4” as words, and made everyone else take part in #selfiesundays. It’s aided refugees in war-torn countries, and has allowed Chrissy Tiegen to share what John Legend’s butt looks like. But Twitter co-founder and newly appointed CEO Jack Dorsey broke the news recently that the 140-character format we all know and love-hate could be coming to an end.
“We didn’t start Twitter with a 140-character restriction. We added that early on to fit into a single SMS message. It’s become a beautiful constraint, and I love it! It inspires creativity and brevity. And a sense of speed. We will never lose that feeling.
“We’ve spent a lot of time observing what people are doing on Twitter, and we see them taking screenshots of text and tweeting it. Instead, what if that text… was actually text? Text that could be searched. Text that could be highlighted. That’s more utility and power…”
The proposed 10,000-character-limit project, codenamed “Beyond 140,” isn’t the first change Dorsey has initiated. Already the “favorite” stars have been converted into “like” hearts, and the “Moments” feature has been added, which allows users to peruse popular tweets in topics like News, Entertainment and Sports.
There’s no mystery why the CEO is trying new things. Twitter’s stock price and user base have been either flat-lining or declining over the past few years, while Facebook has seen continuous growth in both areas. All the changes Dorsey has started are very reminiscent of the formerly college-based social media giant. Maybe the next few years will see Twitter being inundated with pictures of your cousin’s baby and your great-uncle’s racist memes, too.
At Satori Marketing, we’re all fairly skeptical of Dorsey’s decision to move Twitter in this new direction. While the character limit may not have been original, it was Twitter’s gimmick. It’s a huge part of why the medium has been so impactful to our world. It doesn’t seem like there’s an end in sight for Facebook, and as long as Twitter is different, many people use both. If Twitter becomes too similar to Facebook, its usefulness disappears.
Dorsey finished his statement on a note of positivity. With anything as new as social media, there’s no telling what’ll happen until it happens. Whether Twitter overcomes recent declines or starts a grisly downward spiral, you can be sure Satori Marketing will keep you in the loop.
“What makes Twitter, Twitter is its fast, public, live conversational nature. We will always work to strengthen that… And by focusing on conversation and messaging, the majority of tweets will always be short and sweet and conversational! We’re not going to be shy about building more utility and power into Twitter for people.
“As long as it’s consistent with what people want to do, we’re going to explore it.”