One of Twitter ‘s most beloved features is set to change: The company is planning to extend its 140-character limit to as many as 10,000, according to a person familiar with the matter.
Twitter’s loud and devoted user base was quick to bemoan that such a change — expected to be announced by the end of March — would spoil the brevity and speed of the real-time service. The character limit that forces users to pen snappy tweets could give way to the longer essays found on Facebook , for example. It could transform Twitter into more of a public blogging platform rather than one that is succinct and well-suited to quips and breaking news headlines.
Twitter Inc. is also aiming to retain the look and feel of the user timeline. For tweets that are longer than 140 characters, users will have to click and expand to see the rest of the text. As users write beyond the 140-character limit, Twitter will signal to them that they have crossed the threshold as a way to encourage brevity.
Despite the lamentations that the change will alter the spirit of Twitter, the truth is that users have been clawing for a longer character limit for some time. Loyal users often create so-called tweetstorms where they string a series of tweets together by replying to them in numerical succession. Users have also gone around the character restriction by attaching screenshots of longer text to their tweets.