The social media environment is a volatile one. It is constantly changing to accommodate both room in the market for new ideas as well as the changing interests and mindset of users. Twitter is, perhaps, one of the most susceptible platforms to change as it was originally designed to provide a limited scope of capabilities. This, of course, forced users to be more creative with their “tweets” by limiting how many characters can be include in a single post.
But Twitter has expanded on this limitation in the past, and a single Twitter post can now hold a maximum of 140 characters. Of course, that limit includes photos and links too, which leaves very little room—in many cases—for individual users to get creative with the messages and captions they want to include with these photos and links.
And this has been part of Twitter’s recent phase of engagement; the platform has been long encouraging users to include more media in their tweets. Whether personal videos of live events, animated gifs that communicate a feeling or thought, or participating in online polls, Twitter wants to increase user-driven media in order to facilitate more community engagement.
As expected, too, upon word of this, fans of the platform took to the web to complain that this massive increase strays too far from Twitter’s original methodology. True to form, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey responded: “At its core, Twitter is public messaging. A simple way to say something, to anyone, that everyone in the world can see instantly. We didn’t start Twitter with a 140 character restriction. We added that early on to fit into a single SMS message [of 160 characters].”
The ability to cram yet more information into the restrictions of a single SMS message, of course, has its advantages, particularly for a simple system that needs massive advertising dollars if it is to remain free to the public. But while lifting—or rather, elasticizing—the ceiling on Tweets might make for more marketing space, will it ultimately retain user interest and increase engagement in parallel?