Twitter Playing With Idea Of Doubling Its Character Limit

Sep 29, 2017

Twitter founder and CEO Jack Dorsey blew up his social media platform this week by introducing the possibility that the company may double how much users can say in one tweet.

And if an ongoing beta test of the new 280-character limit works as the social media company hopes, all of the estimated 328 million people with Twitter accounts could be waxing poetic a lot more.

Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies says it was just 11 years ago when Twitter started, and smart phones were not the preferred mode of mobile communication. Instead, they were relying on the 180-character limit of the SMS – or short messaging service – offered on old-school mobile phones.

While Dorsey’s announcement implies the longer format is designed to free up frustrated writers, McBride said there’s another reason why Twitter – publicly traded since 2013 - is doing this.

“Twitter’s in a rut, in spite of being the social media platform of the most powerful man in the world,” she said, referring to President Donald Trump.

The company’s mostly flat when it comes to gaining new users, and that’s not good for the bottom line, McBride said.

“The number of people who use it daily has increased, while the number of people who use it once a month has decreased. So what that means is that Twitter is becoming this closed conversation,” she said. “And that’s a problem for them because they can’t make money unless they get more people using it every month, not just every day."