Be it politics or papal visits, one of the surest way to have your opinion heard today is to tweet it in 140 characters. But are 140 characters enough? That seems to be occupying the mindspace of the micro-blogging site top management, with founder and CEO Jack Dorsey calling the character-cap a “beautiful constraint” and then tweeting a screenshot with the text “We’re not going to be shy about building more utility and power into Twitter for people”, which is definitely longer than 140 characters—“tweeple” have been known to post screenshots of long texts to get around the restriction. Tech site Re/code has reported that Twitter is experimenting with a feature that allows users to post as many as 10,000 characters (1,000 words, including spaces and punctuation)—Reuters points out, for perspective, that Abe Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address, that inspired a nation then torn by civil war, was all of 272 words while John F Kennedy’s inaugural speech was 1,366 words.
So, if the so-called witty swear by brevity, why is Twitter considering a move that could cause it to lose the very character that drew users to it? It is no secret that the company is under pressure to generate greater user growth—which, down the line, impacts ad revenue; it had the slowest user growth in 2015. So, with many users looking to beat the 140-characters limit, it could be that Twitter believes allowing people to wax longer is a way to entice new users. But, like all things in the Twitterverse, opinions become inspired campaigns all too soon, drawing the power of the hashtag—thus, it is no surprise that a “say no to #beyond140” campaign is already quite a rage on the platform.