The micro-blogging site Twitter recently dropped its 140-character limit from direct messages, in what less-is-more puritan fans saw as infidelity to its one-liner ethos. Already struggling as a loss-making social media platform, with fears for its sustainability, Twitter has braved the raised eyebrows and thinks it is onto a crucial positive with the move.
Ever since its inception in 2006 Twitter has found itself battling with other social media competitors, such as Facebook, as well as late-comers like WhatsApp. Along with a myriad of other messenger services, such as the age-old Windows Messenger, all those other platforms had no limits to character length. Except for Twitter.
Mirroring its tweets, Twitter insisted on a 140-character ceiling for its direct messages, which included one attached photo or infographic. These are communications which you send to one or more specific Twitter users and are not shared on the otherwise public tweeting platform.
With the removal of the 140-character ceiling now you can write as much as you like – a book if you insist – including an unlimited number of website links. But you remain limited to just one photo or infographic as an attachment.
There are at least two immediate benefits of the change, and as we know Twitter is in need of a revamp to turn in some profit.
Firstly, Twitter is declaring that it is now a messenger service, like the others. It already had the direct message infrastructure. Now, at a stroke, it allows the creative writers among us to let rip on a longer, emotional journey. This will help those struggling with 140-character limits – like those who used to struggle to write with ease in a slightly more “generous” 160-character mobile phone SMS text.
Secondly, customers will be empowered to reach out to brands and companies, interact, comment and complain to customer services’ Twitter accounts in the hope they may get a swift and resolving response. It will allow customers more space to explain their gripes or be more generous with their praise of services rendered. Likewise, it will allow companies to respond in a appropriate language and length, preserving and reinforcing their corporate reputations.
On balance, the change to direct messaging must be a good thing because whatever cynics might say about the late arrival of this change, the dynamics of any revolution often lead to other, unexpected advantages ahead.