Two weeks ago, Twitter announced they are moving beyond 140 characters. Sorta. Moving forward, when you reply to a tweet, @names will no longer count toward the 140-character count. Media attachments will also no longer count as characters, leaving more room for words. You will also be able to retweet and quote yourself. (In case you say something worth repeating.) And no longer will you need to put a period before the “@” for your conversation to appear on your followers’ stream. These changes will roll out over the next couple months — allowing developers and social media managers time to adjust.
But how do the writers at Imaginuity feel about these changes? We decided to “look into” (i.e., hack) a private instant messenger conversation between our senior writers Jenn Emerson and David Hopkins to get their candid perspective on these events.
David: Hey, did you hear the news about Twitter?
Jenn: Yes! >%^@ That’s it. Twitter is becoming Facebook!
David: I like the old school angry face emoticon. But WTF? (Why the frown?)
Jenn: Twitter wants to be Facebook. First, they expanded your profile cover image to Facebook-sized proportions. Second, they played around with the timeline so it pushes “more important” news into your feed, rather than it just being a live stream of consciousness from the electronic humanity. Third, this. Expanding the space a little so you may not have to get creative with your message. Twitter is a micro blog. It was intended for short conversations. Half the fun is figuring out how to say the most by saying the least.
David: True. Clearly, Twitter is trying to compete with more media-heavy social platforms like Instagram and Tumblr, which are more popular with those pesky Millennials. They don’t want to “punish” users for posting a video. Twitter doesn’t want to be viewed as your parents’ social media platform. As a result, updates were expected. Welcome to the brave new world, where you can post a video and still have 140 characters remaining.
Jenn: I admit. That can be frustrating. You know how I love a Twitter poll. But, there has been many a time when I had a big question that had to be dumbed down for character limit. I accepted that as the internet telling me my poll question needed to be reworked. The internet does that sometimes, you know.
David: Yes. I do know. (sigh) But, for every social media company that says, “this is how you’re supposed to use it,” there’s some jerk-faced contrarian who will ignore that and try something different. People have written novels using Twitter. Novels. Novels, Jenn. That is the world we live in.
Jenn: Then they need to get a blog! I mean, people do it on Facebook everyday — long-winded political tirades, which I never get all the way through, BECAUSE THAT IS THE INTERNET WORLD WE LIVE IN. No one has time for your—
David: Jenn! Sorry to cut you off. I get what you are saying. The thing is, right now, there are only two websites on the entire internet that are “too big to fail.” Google and Facebook. For everyone else, you are only one bad redesign away from completely losing your audience… MySpace-style. Twitter has always been on the bubble. Extremely successful, incredibly popular, but never hitting that Facebook level of godhood. As a result, the pressure is on Twitter to evolve. This step (being more flexible with the 140 character) is a step in the right direction without completely reinventing what makes them so great.
Jenn: I get that. I do. And I know I am freaking out like a Luddite discovering a DVR for the first time. I just feel Twitter is a competitive platform for the very reason that it is not Facebook or Google. It’s a space for quick conversations. Plus, I happen to enjoy bad Twitter shorthand. I think it’s gr8.
David: I hate Twitter shorthand. It hurts my soul.
David: Now you’re hurting my soul. You realize that. Don’t you?
Jenn: Why don’t you post a video to Twitter and then spend 140 characters crying about it? #SorryNotSorry
David: I will!
Jenn: Fine! Be that way!
Jenn: OK! And why do you spell it “okay?” That’s absurd.
David: You’re absurd! It’s the recommended spelling, according to the Chicago Manual of Style.
Jenn: Not according to the AP Stylebook, and OK is truer to the word’s origins.
David: That’s a filthy lie!
Jenn: What were we arguing about again?
David: I forget. Wanna grab Torchy’s Tacos?
Jenn: Sure. Give me 15 minutes. I need to think of a blog post for Imaginuity.