Social Media

Twitter could become universal commenting system

Twitter quick and fast

Twitter is considering expanding the twitter character limit to 10,000 characters. The average character length for words is 5.1, so that makes 1,960 words.

Who would write 1,960 words in a tweet?! If they are going to extend the limit, at least make it a short-style blog post, like 300 words. For comparison, newspaper columns run 600-800 words. 1,960 words. Wow. Seems like Twitter is grasping for the fences here trying to get new users.

The people who aren’t on Twitter now and write 1,000-plus word columns–will those people really want to join Twitter with this expanded field? Chances are, these people aren’t on Twitter because they aren’t the most technically-minded people. Completely revamping a platform to cater to this group… might not be a good idea.

Twitter has been on a path where they move away more and more from what they are. This limit removal goes to show that Twitter isn’t about Twitter. Twitter is about making money and trying to compete with others. Years ago they limited their API, so people can’t build their own clients or do research off Twitter.

With a limited API, Twitter limits how people can use the platform, but now they expect us to put more into it by publishing entire stories to the platform?!

Instead of removing the character-count limit, Twitter should be removing their API limits. Let Twitter be Twitter.

They are going down the path of becoming less like Twitter, and more like Facebook; Twitter can make a pivot and return back to their roots. Go back to a more open API that allows people to build on the platform. That would bring more people back and increase usage, and thus increase the number of users.

Now how about some benefits to expanding the character limit?
Beyond the obvious more room to write.

What if the comments field on all blog posts and articles were Twitter fields? When a comment is made on a blog post, it would actually be a tweet. A few sites tried this, but inevitably, you run into the 140 character limit on a comment. It’s frustrating trying to leave a comment on a blog and you run out of room. But with this limit removed, blogs’ comment systems could be replaced with Twitter response boxes.

Then get this. Twitter could become a sort of universal commenting system, where all comments are interlinked together! (In fact, I tweeted about such a dream last year)


However, such a universal commenting system through Twitter seems highly unlikely. Right now Twitter doesn’t even provide a simple UI to see the number of at-replies on a single tweet in the stream. Y’know, basic commenting stuff.

Overall, Twitter is a conversation tool, not a broadcast tool. If they open up the character limit, then they should also open up their API for greater interactivity and distribution. Everyone will benefit.

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