140 characters. That’s all you have for tweets and direct messages (DM). Starting in July, Twitter is giving you room to be as long-winded as you want in DMs. How many characters? 10,000 will be the new limit.
You can either explain something or dig one giant hole for yourself. And don’t worry, we still get to take plenty of tweets out of context, and celebrities get to make an ass of themselves. Win-win.
How long is a 10,000 characters DM? Imagine typing in Word… OK, that’s a terrible idea. How about Google Docs? 10,000 characters is about five pages.
Said another way, you can write a damn book report in your direct message if you choose. Why would you want to do that? No clue, but have at it come July.
What it means is Twitter is finally embracing what it is. A social messaging app. People want to communicate. Yes, we can get breaking news from Twitter. Interesting updates from whoever you follow. But it’s core? It’s a messaging app. You can instantly tweet someone, and they can respond.
Twitter’s stagnation is it didn’t want to move past what made it unique into something advertisers, and users could consistently use. 140 characters. Short snippets on the go. Twitter was embracing the ADD of the Internet.
All true, but there’s another side of social. Once you set the hook, you have to keep people engaged. 140 characters was the bait, but the DM can keep people coming back for more.
The lift of the character limit on Twitter screams new messaging client. The knee-jerk reaction to that is another one? Why the hell do I want another messaging app? The list is endless. Messenger, Whatsapp, Line, etc. all are dominant forces.
How it could work is a fusion of Twitter’s frontline 140 characters feature with an expansive DM area. You start a conversation; Twitter needs to keep it there. How many times have we tweeted a person only to resort to other apps to continue the conversation?
Catch and release is great if you’re fishing. Letting your users start on Twitter and move to Facebook’s Messenger? That’s one hell of an exposed flank.
The leadership change will give Twitter some rope. Ignore the machinations of the stock this morning over comments on CNBC. Yes, it gave up most of the after-hours gains. It’s still higher in an overall shaky market.
Twitter is making the same appeal Facebook makes. Please stay. Facebook opened its checkbook and started acquisitions to protect areas competitors could exploit. Instagram and Whatsapp.
What can Twitter do? Embrace what it truly is. A social messaging app. Keep the feeds burning and allow users to swipe instantly into direct or group messaging. Grow Periscope and keep your users on the platform.
People will scream for innovation. That’s often confused with adapting to a changing environment. You never hear innovate or die.
But it’s damn sure adapt or die.
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