The global Twitterati set their sights on Twitter, widely decrying a reported plan by the microblogging site to blow out its length limit to as much as 10,000 characters. The plan, first reported by Re/code late on Tuesday, sparked huge traffic on the hashtag #Twitter10k, with most of the posts there pleading for Twitter not to lift its long-standing 140-character limit.
“Dear Twitter, Let’s not,” wrote Lab Girl (@LeanN_Mean) in a typically concise post. Another Twitter user, Carl Bövis(@CarlBovis_AFC) tweeted: “10,000 characters Twitter?!! If I wanted to read War and bloody peace I’d ditch my phone and go to a library!”
Many users cited examples of materials that will turn up on the site if it runs its length limit up that far. “If twitter expands to 10,000 characters a tweet, somebody’s gonna tweet the entire bee movie script. That is the day I leave this website,” tweeted Kyla Jackson (@kylakeys). Paul Courtney (@Paul_Courtney) tweeted: “The script for entire Princess Bride Cliffs of Insanity rope climb & Inigo/Westley fight scene is 6400 characters. Let that pickle, @twitter”
The plan is Twitter’s latest attempt at reinvention as it struggles to spur revenue and user growth, and it could be rolled out at the end of first quarter, according to Re/code. Although Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey did not directly confirm, he strongly hinted at the new feature. “We’ve spent a lot of time observing what people are doing on Twitter and we see them taking screenshots of text and tweeting it,” he tweeted on Tuesday. “Instead, what if that text … was actually text? Text that could be searched. Text that could be highlighted. That’s more utility and power.”
Many users groaned that would make Twitter too similar to arch-competitor Facebook Inc. Giridharan (@imchampgiri) tweeted: “I don’t want to read novels here, @twitter. Facebook’s already the place for that. #Twitter10k”
Social media sentiment towards Twitter Inc. was at positive 20 percent on Wednesday – meaning there are 20 percent more positive tweets than negative ones mentioning Twitter – after falling to negative territory a day earlier when the news first broke. Despite the recovery, it was a significant fall from around positive the 70 percent sentiment rating it had earlier in the year, according to Thomson Reuters social media sentiment engine.