Twitter Updates Its Character Count. Was it the Right Decision?

Changes are on the way to Twitter’s character count and they aren’t what you think! Bloomberg has the full story here:

If that last sentence was a tweet, we would only have four more characters to go. If an image was included, we’d be over the count by 26 and have to ditch the original copy or come up with a more creative idea to tell the story.

In 2006, 140 characters made sense. A popular way of publishing tweets was by sending a text to Twitter. Texts only allowed 140 characters, so naturally that’s all Twitter allowed. Ten years later, tweets can be sent multiple ways — from a desktop computer, tablet, smartphone device, and even a television. More accessibility to Twitter means faster communication, more updates, and more tweets with multimedia included. The idea of texting Twitter is a thing of the past.

Clearly, it’s time for Twitter to update. CEO Jack Dorsey wrote in Janurary, “We’ve spent a lot of time observing what people are doing on Twitter, and we see them taking screenshots of a text and tweeting it. Instead, what if that text … was actually text? Text that could be searched. Text that could be highlighted.”


Twitter recognized the limited 140 characters was becoming an issue for today’s technology. However, the question became, how does the platform increase the character count without harming its brand, competitive advantage, and users?

The originally proposed idea of 10,000 characters sparked rage in the Twitter-verse and caused a 2% plummet in share price. Many felt it wouldn’t be the same social platform anymore. Users and marketers alike were ready to scrap their vision of how to use Twitter and start from scratch.

Luckily, the people at Twitter came up with a different plan that would still revolutionize the platform. Within the next two weeks, links and photos will no longer be a part of the 140 characters. That leaves an extra 47 characters to write text and use emojis, encouraging users to write more, share more photos, and share more links.

Looking further down the road, it’s clear to see that Twitter may have more up its sleeve than merely this much needed update. By next year, it’s projected that video content will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic.

It’s no coincidence that Twitter’s ambition to be a leader in mobile video is well documented. Mobile video ads on social platforms are also on the rise. Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter round out the top three in video ad revenue with Instagram lurking in fourth place. This update to Twitter’s platform could be a part of a larger plan to maintain its dominance in video ads and fend off Instagram’s rising popularity.

Only time will tell if Twitter’s new update is effective. But for now, both marketers and users can rejoice. Our beloved Twitter is essentially staying the same. The 140 characters that have become synonymous to Twitter are here to stay with a minor tweak that brings the platform up to 2016 standards.