Is Twitter finally making a good decision about the 140 character limit?

Is Twitter finally making a good decision about the 140 character limit?

Is Twitter finally making a good decision about the 140 character limit?

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There have been a lot of rumors and speculation about what Twitter is doing about the 140 character limit for tweets. The idea that Twitter is gradually transforming into Facebook-lite in an effort to try to become more appealing to advertisers and investors, and to become more accessible to newcomers to the platform as well.


A year ago, Twitter removed the 140-character limit on direct messages, a move that made a lot of sense since those messages don’t fill everyone’s timeline or mess up the flow of the user experience.

Now, the company could stop counting photos and links toward the 140-character limit, which we think is a great move. Removing the 140 character limit altogether seems like a really bad idea that breaks the whole user experience on Twitter. On the other hand, links and images are already shortened and then added to tweets, so having a few extra characters handy won’t actually affect the timeline. Currently, a link uses up to 23 characters in a tweet. Want to share some interesting news? And a photo to go with it? Things start to get very tight at this point, and for no real reason either.

(Also see: why Twitter’s 10,000 character limit is a bad idea)

Twitter has been going through a wide range of changes lately, often not for the better. Twitter now shows you the “top tweets first”, although you can disable this option in the settings page. It’s not just big product changes either – the company changed stars for ‘favorites’ to hearts for ‘likes’ – something most existing users really hated. It’s only cosmetic, but it was something that mattered to a lot of users.

The thing is, Twitter has plenty of room to improve, but most changes have only irritated the user base, and positive developments have been few.

This latest change – if it comes to fruition as indicated – does, however, seem like a step in the right direction. It doesn’t slow Twitter down or clutter the feed with long posts. It becomes easier to share images and links – an essential part of the Twitter experience for many – without having to commit crimes against grammar to insert your caption. At the same time, the amount of text is still capped at the same limit, so your timeline won’t really be affected either.

All in all, this looks like one of the first changes Twitter has considered for a long time that doesn’t make us hate the social network – if anything, the idea seems pretty good right now.


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