Longer Tweets are Bad News for Publishers

Convershaken Staff
January 6, 2016

You've probably seen the news on Twitter: as predicted by Re/code, Twitter intends to lengthen its 140-character limit to 10,000, possibly before the end of March. Many users cheered the lifting of the restriction, but Slate argues it's bad news for online publishers.

Rather than serving as a gateway to media outlets, Twitter is following Facebook in hosting publishers' full content directly on its site. That discourages users from following links to news and entertainment websites (like this one) as they can read entire stories within a tweet, reducing viewership and advertising revenues for publishers.

Twitter previously served as a switchboard that directs users to other websites; it could now become a 'walled garden' that makes content exclusively available on its platform and restricts media outlets from offering it elsewhere. 

The move follows founder Jack Dorsey's reinstatement as CEO in July 2015. He may be seeking to revitalise Twitter's user growth by not so freely sending users to other parts of the web. Twitter's monthly active users rose by 8 per cent to 307m in the year to end-September 2015, compared with a 14 per cent rise at Facebook to 1.55bn.

Twitter users initially feared the change would rob the platform of its speed and brevity. But in a tweet, founder and CEO Jack Dorsey expressed his commitment to the platform's "fast, public, live conversational nature". People will likely have to click on tweets to expand them and view more than 140 characters.

Dorsey also highlighted two ways that Twitter users already work around the restrictions: 'tweetstorms' - tweeting several times in succession - or pasting images of text. His full tweet is below: