Beyond 140 Characters: The Thing Twitter Wants To Do That Is Upsetting Everyone


It should be no surprise, really, that what with the current economic heavy breathing, we should experience something equally troubling in the Twittonomy (bad coinage? Thought so). Today on Recode, we read that Twitter is SERIOUSLY considering expanding the 140-character limit to – haha – 10,000 characters.

The team behind this is called Beyond 140 Characters, and I give them eponymous credit here.

Before Beyond 140 Characters, There Were Angry Hashtags and Angry Cats

This isn’t exactly news, what Twitter plans to do. What is upsetting is the fact that it’s made headlines twice –  once could have been a rumor, which is what it was in September/October when it was first broadcast into the wind.

A lot of users have taken to mentioning @jack, @Twitter and my @grandma, complaining – and rightfully so –  that they would not sit for this. But they would stand. And tweet. In CAPS. No, seriously guys – what’s the current literature saying about staging social media protests against the social media creators?

I am assuming that throwing up into a bottle, adding a bit of petrol, then stopping it up, lighting it on fire and throwing it into the open window of a nursery school is about as close as it comes to defining the senseless horror of what Twitter has done.

But here are the full details so we can all be accurately upset. Nothing scares the enemy more than an angry man who has all the facts. 

The Facts: For Angry People

Twitter has been struggling with becoming a better social media platform than it currently is. Sure, it’s as good an account for us to LOL the SubDeliveryMan and to mschew the feminists, but it’s really not all smiles during review meetings with investors at TwitterHQ. So Twitter has been working on ways to, you know, get more bang for their buck.

[*Photo of sexually active buck retracted ’cause that’s not the sort of thing this blog covers*]

Twitter has been making a flurry of choices, all targeted towards improving user inclusiveness and making a justifiable ROI. Take the current ‘quote retweet’ function we have going. I wish I could find the brains behind it so I can make him/her an effigy. But I can’t. And that saddens me and makes me question some of earth’s choices. Like, you know, exchanging dinosaurs for us. Can you imagine that, man? We are the species that took over from the T. Rex!

Recently there has been murmur on Twitter over the placement of Twitter ads. Seriously, those things are everywhere: at the top of your profile, in the middle, at the bottom of a tweet, underneath a reply, close to my pink shower caps…


For real, man. Twitter is beginning to look like an arthritic skinny-dip down the fermented sea of na wa that is  nowadays. Or even Badoo. Which is why I find myself nowadays on Twitter looking for a sexy down-to-earth woman who is fearing God and ready to catch funs.

With that said, let’s look at what has been shown us currently about the proposed (and now, rather likely) Life Beyond 140 Characters™.

140 characters are not off the table, I do not think. I believe most tweets will remain within the 140-character limit, as a rule.

The 10,000-character-plus thing will be an extended-functionality (like Twitter polls, but not quite like) that allows TL;DR backflips.

(In other words, when you scroll – fear not- your TL will not be abducted by a treatise from an overenthusiastic ‘-ism’ flag-bearer shouting ‘ALL KNIVES MATTER’ or whatever it is they always yell.)

Think about it: with Twitter’s 10,000, I wouldn’t have to write tweets in concatenation like I often do. My literary prowess will really begin to flowwwwwww.

Mind you, Twitter has tried to ‘increase’ the staying time of a tweet (the average tweet has a lifespan of 18 minutes, did you know?)

Twitter has tried, subtly, in the past, to jack up the tweet content and each time engagement dropped. And they’ve had to ‘abort mission!’.

So – if you’re upset enough, and get enough of your friends to be upset enough, you can get Jack to be in a room with the investor fellas, saying ‘welp- we tried, but the numbers are still kamikaze fighters.’

By the way, how are you enjoying them ‘Moments’ Twitter served ya?

Editor’s note: This article first appeared on Justin Irabor’s Blog. Justin is a platonic tech lover. Father figure. He calls himself a digital spider on a digital spiderweb, spinning yarns. He is head of Digital Marketing at He tweets at @TheVunderkind