business news in context, analysis with attitude

by Kevin Coupe

Twitter is on the verge of announcing a major change in its stay-everything-you-can-in-140-characters policy that will allow people to post longer messages.

According to Bloomberg, Twitter "will soon stop counting photos and links as part of its 140-character limit for messages, according to a person familiar with the matter. The change could happen in the next two weeks, said the person who asked not to be named because the decision isn’t yet public. Links currently take up 23 characters, even after Twitter automatically shortens them."

The story notes that such a change would be part of a broader effort to give Twitter users greater flexibility, which has been undertaken in part because of how technology has changed since Twitter began a decade ago. The 140-character limit originally was imposed, Bloomberg writes, "because it was a way to send Tweets while fitting all the information within a mobile text message - a common way for sending Tweets when the service debuted in 2006, before the proliferation of smartphones."

But while Twitter wants to makes the service more flexible, it also faces the same problem of a lot of brands - it does not want to mess with the product's core values. And so while it at one point considered expanding the limit to 10,000 characters, it decided not to, since "the quick, concise nature of Tweets has helped set the site apart from the competition."

In addition to expanding the character count of messages, Bloomberg writes, Twitter "has been making video a priority as part of its push for live events. Earlier this year, the company agreed to pay $10 million to the National Football League for the rights to stream 10 Thursday night games during the 2016 season, people familiar with the matter have said. Twitter is working on more content deals for streaming sports, political events and entertainment."

And so, a major brand works to expand what it does while not tinkering with the fundamentals of what it means.

Just like a lot of brands. And it is an Eye-Opener.

For Twitter, like a lot of companies, it is a character issue. Except that in Twitter's case, the issue is literal.
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