It is better for the reader, not so for the writer. Because of that, I do not understand why they focus so much on getting more writers (login) than readers (views).
"follow me at _ on Twitter"
That said, I think most comments are missing the point - having attachments not take up characters really won't make the service any more useful to the mainstream... That's the real problem in my opinion.
Twitters troubles come from a misguided impression of what it is supposed to be, creating pressure on the product to not be what it in fact is.
Still I think the 140 character limit was in part due to their continued success; I know when I look at a tweet, I'm not going to get a 1000-word dissertatino on a subject - I will get bite-size pieces of info (for the most part, except for the multi-part diatribes or conversations, which I generally ignore).
Link anxiety is a real thing - I'm less likely to click if it's going to absorb my attention for 5m+.
edit: for the downvotes-
I have an unpopular view, but I'm firmly of the belief that all Twitter did was amplify the voice of celebrities - most of whom have not much to really say, made it easier for abusive speech to be targeted towards individuals and amplified moral outrage. Facebook has as well, but nowhere near as badly as Twitter.
Ironically, sometimes it's been for the better. But for every https://twitter.com/RabbiJason/status/728404847381204993 there is a https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/24046226568028979...
Sometimes you even get something like this:
Edit: like I say, it's an unpopular view! If only someone would tell me why my view is wrong or unreasonable. In 140 characters...
Edit 2: It's suddenly occurred to me that if someone was able to give a highly convincing argument in favour of Twitter's ability to convey all complex arguments and views and did so with a lengthy response, but there was no way of distilling the message to 140 characters... would that invalidate it?
I follow several programmers (some internet famous, some merely who I've found from using a project they worked on or someone else's retweet), and through that, find it interesting to get a glimpse at what other people are doing or finding challenging, or see when there's buzz around some new technology in my space.
The other thing I find it useful for is local updates in my (relatively small) city. Traffic updates, road closures, police activity, events, etc. The local public works and city hall accounts are surprisingly active and often useful. I also follow a handful of restaurants nearby the office: they often tweet lunch specials.
I follow exactly zero mainstream celebrities, never look at 'Moments', 'trending', etc -- I find those things full of crap I simply don't care about at all.
The change will be nice because it'll hopefully be easy to parse the metadata for attachments (images, url) and it should be more elegant to handle them in general than regexping them out.
Knowing strategies to avoid just nasty people is the main issue I have with it. Like, if you go into Twitter and see that you have a whole bunch of Gamer Gayers targeting you (just an example, I can't see how I would be a target!) then I'd imagine having no Twitter would be preferable to actually having a Twitter account!
Perhaps refrain from using childish insults like Gamer Gayers. Like attracts like.
Either way, yes, out of all the words to misspell, that one was quite unfortunate.
To some people it's so valuable to use as a means of participating in their community of choice that they're willing to keep using it despite severe harrasment.
Not being a woman gives you a big advantage against harrasment. But it can come from all sorts of weird places. My wife is a big Eurovision tweeter and encountered people who search for "Macedonia" to tweet Greek nationalist abuse at.
Your argument of Twitter being better when only programmers used it doesn't really apply if you only follow programmers, does it?
That's a fair point.
I eventually came to use 2 accounts, one anonymous, to interact with brands and personalities (but I repeat myself), and one personal, to keep up with people I knew first-hand. The former devolved into just ranting about everything that I found sub-optimal (usually about the .NET workflow for my day job), and the latter didn't generate enough interesting activity to care about. Both were just negative pressures on my daily activity, so I finally just shut down both.
What value do these services have 90% of their users but provide a throughline to celebrities?
Twitter is great for zeitgeist, silliness, mass-participation solidarity politics (this isn't very thoughtful, yes, but that's not always the most important thing), following live events, international fandoms, and kibitzing.
But all of those, "Damn I made a typo or dumb spelling (thx mobile keyboard) and yet it has been replied to or re-tweeted already"... all of that is solved by edit with visible history.
I write "I love cats!" You RT it. I edit it to "I am Al Queda." The FBI visits you.
I write "I am Al Queda." I edit it to "I love cats!" before you see it. You like cats, too, so you RT it. The FBI has a slow feed, so they see that you endorsed my Al Queda membership. They pay you a visit.
From a systems point of view, when your whole stack is designed around immutability (so you can serve archives of past tweets from append-only CDNs, for example) it may be nigh impossible to add editing.
Then the question changes to an age related question. What is the ideal age of a prostitute?
We call that "learning".
Short of [mega star], few tweets see much favoriting/RTing in that window.
It seems that one of the fundamental assumptions is that Tweets are immutable. Changing that could break all kinds of things and would probably their systems significantly more complicated.
Twitter basically started on SMS, back in the day. There wasn't really an app because there weren't major smartphone platforms outside of PalmOS and Blackberry. A lot of my friends made SMS posts to Facebook or LiveJournal, but you never got comments or responses back, so it was very one-way.
That's where Twitter really hooked you back then. You signed up, registered your phone number, and tweets got sent as SMS messages to your phone. The 140 limit provided 18 characters for a username, colon, space, and the tweet. There were commands for following, blocking, etc. and later, direct messaging.
So you got tweets back from people you followed when you sent out a tweet. It really, truly was, as other folks have said in here, mass SMS.
You'd meet someone at a bar, and just send follow NewFunPerson to the Twitter short code and bam, their tweets were texted to you.
All the other stuff that people like about microblogging was just a side effect. Twitter was written to get to people's phones back when the only universal for mobile platforms (in the United States at least) were that you could send a text message. That immediacy, the ability to blast out something quick and get the replies back on your phone was everything.
Also, at a time when Facebook was still struggling with the fact that "Friends" were a two-way street (Following and Pages weren't a thing yet), the one-way nature of the follow relationship allowed you a lot of access to celebrities with minimal effort on the part of the celebrity. You just found Britney Spears, hit follow, and done. She (rather, her publicist) did exactly nothing to get you there, and now you know there's a new single coming out exclusively at FYE tomorrow. Cha-ching.
Twitter seized upon all the weak points of Facebook, made do with what was available in mobile, and hit gold. After that, when mobile apps hit, Twitter took all those interesting "side effects" of their 140 character limit and built on those instead, pivoting to emphasize microblogging, hashtags, and immediacy, since SMS wasn't there. And, to be honest, these things are very, VERY likely something that you get because of 140 characters.
So yeah, Social Media History 101.
When my friends and I first started using Twitter, we basically used it as a group chat, similar to Hangouts/FB today.
SMS messages are 140 bytes: 160 7-bit characters, 140 8-bit characters, or 70 UCS-2 16-bit characters.
Twitter used 160-character text messages, where 140 characters were the tweet itself, and the rest was the username.
The whole "we need twenty characters to set aside the destination" was such a hollow rational that never made any sense. IIRC, it was revealed at some point that the 140 character message limit for tweets was basically the result of someone sitting down and doing a brief, informal testing of whatever they thought to be "the average sms message" and that's the number they ended up with.
Right but how could Twitter have put data into the separate header in an SMS message? They can't do that. Hence the 140 character limit (the 160 hard maximum for them being able to put into a message and then minus 20 characters for commands).
Twitter's job right now is to figure out how to make their UX less niche and grow market share before they lose ground to the Whatsapps and Snapchats of the world, not to police edge cases that are better managed by simple social norms.
is displayed as
I could craft:
Which, depending on how this is implemented, might render to
Twitter makes me stop and rewrite and rewrite and rewrite and finally get something that fits in 140 and makes sense for the most part after the third read if you understand me and all the context surrounding the thing I said.
I suppose it's at least partially generational for me but it seems so inelegant. Like we're in a global bit shortage.
Also, there's nothing stopping people from tweeting an idea and including a link to a blog/gist/whatever where they add more context.
And if Twitter does expand the limit, I hope they do it in a way that is essentially a structured version of a link to something else. For example, keep the 140 character limit, but also let people attach a longer note – up to, say, 5000 characters, maybe with simple Markdown formatting. Support it in all official clients and give 3rd-party clients a way to support it too.
I have no problem with them expanding the limit as long as I can still scroll through my timeline, seeing 140-max tweets with an option to click on one to see the expanded version, without leaving my Twitter client or loading a whole webpage. A worse option would be to just show the first 140 characters of a longer note. I think there's value in forcing people to be concise, but I also get that there's value in letting people post longer messages and keeping all of that content in-network.
This long comment is ~1,360 characters.
Doesn't that lead to a tendency for low quality content (content that can be consumed in a few seconds, like animated gifs, quotes, etc)? I usually want to read in-depth articles and editorials, or thoughtful comment threads.
Based on the people I follow, I get exposed to a lot of news and ideas I might have otherwise missed, but I don't need or want Twitter to be the place where I dig in for more details. I'm fine clicking a link or Googling something if I think it's interesting enough to warrant further investigation.
I guess my main concern is that if Twitter tries to be all things to all people it's going to lose its special utility as a discovery engine. In other words, I don't want Twitter to become Facebook or a glorified RSS reader. For me, Twitter is the best source for breaking news and ideas ignored by mainstream media, sprinkled with tidbits from friends I know IRL.
In general, I'm happy with what it is now, perhaps with some better controls for blocking and preventing abuse. If they can find a way to keep the concise sharing/discovery aspect while integrating longer content, I'm cool with that – albeit a bit skeptical.
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You need to remove all nuance to fit any reasonably complex idea in 140 characters . And so we're left with soundbites and absolutes, the backbone of all good discussions!
Twitter is optimized for readers, not writers.
Twitter is optimized for SMS.
For a certain kind of reader.
Really, the size is an artifact of the early importance of SMS as a mechanism for Twitter. If SMS isn't important to Twitter anymore, I can see why it makes sense to reconsider the limit.
Even if concision is a positive differentiator, there's no reason a limit based on SMS's limitations must be treated as unalterable.
They have to increase the limit otherwise people will get tired of using the workarounds (because, let's face it, it's practically impossible to have any kind of meaningful conversation at 140 characters at a time). It won't be to 5,000 but I would be surprised if they don't eventually go up to, say, 500 max.
what i don't understand is why they haven't built long-form notes that can be inserted into a tweet, just like images can be inserted.
Twitter then started doing a lot of that stuff on its own and tried to kill off the other services (3rd party clients like Falcon Pro, TwitPic, etc.)
What was once a beautiful ecosystem to support this interesting 140 character thing got gobbled back up by a company that realized it needed to monetize.
As a URL is some redirect service, I believe that drops the limit by 12 per url.
The 140 limit is not being removed
If you are going include a link then you should be penalized since links are expensive tax for the readers.
Twitter's beauty was that it was easy to predict your mental tax you are going to pay for reading a tweet. Now its unpredictable.
It always would have been trivial to remove URLs from the data and throw it into metadata, where character limits do not matter.
Shame it took 2446 days for this basic idea to come to fruition:
The problem is my feed is out of control. Is there a way to filter it?
For example, I want to only match the travel deals by regex (my city), the politics stuff by popularity, etc.
I was under the impression that Twitter closed off their API to 3ed parties, so maybe this is no longer possible.
On a side note, my current company recently switched to a MicroService framework based on Twitter Finagle / Finatra. At first, I was grumpy (damn Hipsters, another failure a la Node and Mongo), but as I learn more about it and Scala, I'm really impressed!
For me, the best way to deal with it has been "Lists" (note: they're hard to figure out and use, and the interface and location of lists is different on every platform).
Twitter has long known that feed management is a major issue for users (especially new users). Unfortunately, they seem unhurried to do something about it.
If you can be bothered to spend hours setting up lists and/or carefully curating who you follow you might be able to extract value from your feed. Failing that, a third party app like Tweetdeck might help. IMO all of this is too much hard work.
You can still write scripts that use the API. But it's rate-limited.
But maybe this is discussed. I haven't RTFA.
When a Tweet starts with a @username, the only users who will see it in their timeline (other than the sender and the recipient) are those who follow both the sender and the recipient.
".@someone Hello I want to respond to you but in public!"
The last thing my timeline needs is to see all of the crap the people I follow are saying to people I don't care to follow.
It still shows up if two people you follow are @ing each other, which is a great way to jump into the conversation if desired.
Edit: seems people disagree with me.
You can't create a feature that limits natural parts of speech. It's just simply not a good user experience. For instance let's say I want to talk about how awesome someone is. Or hell I simply want to introduce one person to another. It may be natural for me to say "Person A, I would like you to meet Person B". That's simply not possible with how replies are currently setup so you have to put a character in front or re-word it.
Yes re-wording is viable but why should someone change the way they converse only so their intended audience can reach them? That is not a good user experience.
What Twitter needs to do is allow you to send a message out to everyone, even if it starts with a user reference, like it used to be. The rub is changing the way conversations work. Conversations are frustrating as hell on Twitter. They need to rework them so that it doesn't rely on an @user but instead thread them. There is a difference between regular messages and a threaded one.
A threaded conversation could also make it easier to link to different conversations people have. Right now it's just jumbled into one huge, stupid pile of crap that's not easy to sort through.
One problem with that is that dozens of people have identical names. The @name works because it's a unique identifier... though people still sometimes send tweets to the wrong person.
In a 140 character limited context, they're already doing that.