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Twitter-gate

The social media eco-system is undoubtedly crowded. With each new generation it seems that a whole load of new sites is introduced into the already over-subscribed mix and this doesn’t look like a trend that is going to slow down. So it is interesting when one of the original big names from social media, and one that has a very distinctive form, decides to change things around.

Of course we’re talking about Twitter, who recently made the announcement that they are going to increase their character limit to 10,000:

It has caused a storm online. Everyone has a view about this radical change. So we thought we’d challenge some of our staff to tell us their thoughts on Twitter’s change. To add further anarchy to the good ship Twitter, they have also just announced that a number of senior executives are leaving as well.

So what is going on at Twitter? Is this a desperate plea to keep users interested? Or is it a cunning plan? We don’t know, but we do know that the views on the change are quite varied. So we thought we’d ask our staff what they thought of it. But they had to do it in 140 characters. This is what they said:

I've always liked the one-hundred-and-forty character limit that has always been Twitter's hallmark. The expression it allows is just enough

Kristan Sirett, Developer

Birds that are of poor eloquence find it sufficient to have their vocabulary limited to 140 characters, people on the other hand do not.

Mitar Holod, Developer

I have not used Twitter for so long due to the character restrictions

Ange Seymour, Service Delivery Manager

I'm on the fence: I can see the downsides, but in terms of accessibility it'd be an improvement over existing 3rd-party tools like tweetimg

Will Wallace, Designer / Developer

I take my milk full fat but if I preferred it skinny and they declared it was “now with added fat!" I’d rant. 10,000 characters? Bonkers!

Andy Bleach, Lead Developer

I don’t get enough time to scan all the posts as it is, it would be impossible at 10,000. It’s good as a news stream but won’t be if changed.

Peter Sheppard, Managing Director

Regrettable loss of precis and brevity. Will fill internet with more blather. But avoids 1/2 which I once thought meant half!

Jan Stannard, Founding Director

Finally, no more multi post messages

Dag Andre Ivarsoy, Lead Developer

I've tweeted only a few times, it could be good as found it annoying once you reached the character limit! I can see it being bad as well as it will allow people to ramble on!

Dolly Dillon, Content Manager

Ironically Dolly exceeded the 140 character limit by 35!

A mixed bag from our staff, although there is an undertone that perhaps whilst the larger character limit allows more freedom of expression, it will also undermine the core value of Twitter, which is that it is succinct and to the point. And that is the salient point. Twitter was founded, as far as the end users are concerned, on the principle that it was different because you couldn't waffle on and on. So what will it be like when you can write essays? Will it be another Facebook, filling up with irrelevant junk and failing to keep its edge? Or will it be a re-born Twitter that rises from the metaphorical ashes?

It will be interesting to see how Twitter performs after the change. No other major social media site has made such a drastic and character altering change before, so this is new ground. We'll keep our eyes peeled for fallout.

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