Twitter considering extending tweet lengths to 10,000 characters

by: John DyeJanuary 5, 2016

Twitter logo Shutterstock

Currently, Twitter has a pretty aggressive cap of 140 characters. Got an idea bigger than that, then you’re going to have to link to it. That’s why Twitter is now tossing around the idea of slightly expanding this limit to 10,000 characters in early 2016.

First, let’s talk about why this is a good idea. …Nothing? Okay, I think we’re done here.

Next, let’s talk about why this is a bad idea. Twitter is a social media platform that has put its entire weight into brevity. Those who want a larger canvas to expound upon their thoughts have other mediums like, well, “Medium” to use for whatever elaboration they feel they need. Hell, you can monologue endlessly on Facebook if the world just really needs to know your thoughts on gun control or third wave feminism or Donald Trump.

Xcerpt for Twitter 11See also: Xcerpt for Twitter lets you share beautiful article snippets with ease1

The whole idea of a “tweet” conjures to mind the fleeting chirrups of a passing bird. Why would Twitter want to throw away a cornerstone of their platform?

It’s a double-edged blade. On the one hand, some critics denounce Twitter because of the impossibility of expressing nuanced thought in only 140 characters. Everything is inevitably boiled down to the most re-tweetable set of clever buzzwords. On the other hand, many have embraced the strictures of Twitter’s limits and found fertile soil for genuine human interaction. Writers in particular really seem to love Twitter, and this is a counterintuitive phenomenon. Why would someone who makes their living producing mountains of words feel affectionate toward a platform that actively restricts them?

Twitter AA watermark

10,000 characters is roughly three pages of text. Western thinking often seems to lean on the notion that creativity is best fostered by freedom. We are fans of the blank page, apostles of the sandbox, defenders of the open world environment. However, there’s a strange relationship between limits and creativity. Whenever human beings are forced to play by limiting rules, that’s when they begin to get most creative at expressing themselves within them. What draws us to a service like Twitter is precisely its limitations, not the promise of endless verbosity, which has been available since Xanga and MySpace. And we all saw how well that worked out.

Re/code reports that this update, internally referred to as “Beyond 140,” is slated to arrive sometime during Q1 of 2016. Twitter isn’t dead-set on the 10,000 character limit as of yet, so this may fluctuate as the final update is rolled out. Either way, it looks like long-form tweets are going to happen whether we like it or not. Users will still only see 140 characters of each given tweet, but they will be able to click a “see more” button to get additional paragraphs.

What are you thoughts regarding Twitter’s planned move to embrace logorrhea? Is this the way the social media platform is meant to evolve, or is it a sacrifice of the service’s intrinsic nature? Let us know in the comments below!

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  • Alex

    No need to go that far… Just double to 280 and its more than fine.

  • John Doe

    Ya, it’s called a Text or Email .. 10.000 Characters .. WHAT??
    That would take some time to read .. and the whole point of a tweet is to be shortsweet and to the point!!
    Fine double it, but that is it!!

  • Vladimir Nedeljković

    I find it that I never went over like -10/15. Just expand it to 160 for example. I want tweets, not novels.

    • Oluwaseun

      Well said.. That large amount of characters is would just inevitably make Twitter boring. For those who take advantage of that amount of characters, of course.

  • James Childress

    10k is a bit much. 500 might be more reasonable. I would rather see one tweet than 3-4 tweets. Whenever I am up against the 140 char limit I find most of the time I am only short by ~5-10 chars so an even slight limit increase to say 200 might be just fine.

  • i don’t want 10,000 words for a tweet. Tweets should be short like texts which are 160. Maybe increase to 160. What I’d really like is if #, @’s, and links didn’t use the limit or only after a certain amount.

    • Yeah, they don’t have to increase the limit, the @-s are the problem…
      When you want to reply to 3 or more people (especially people with looooong names) you get like at most 10 words out there, it’s a pain. However a tiny limit increase wouldn’t hurt, to max 200 if even..!

  • Avieshek Rajkhowa

    Newspaper articles demand 2000 word limit. This is the father-mother of essays.

  • Ajit Singh

    Yeah, I agree with the writer. The essence of Twitter lies in its 140-characters limit. Without the limit, it will be like any other social media platform. I have a feeling that expanding the limit will do more bad than good for Twitter.

  • John Zakaria

    300 is good enough to write alot while keeping it kinda short

  • enjoy 10000 letter spam when you start following random peepz