Why 141 just isn’t Twitter

In a world of increasing marketing noise and confusion, Twitter's character limitations should be embraced, says Toby Waller

This is for every social media manager out there who feels limited by Twitter's 140-character limit. There's nothing more frustrating than typing a tweet, then, just when it's perfectly formed, running out of spa...

Twitter is currently going through something of an identity crisis. In the face of flatlining user growth, which is fuelling concern with investors, Twitter is trying to re-invent itself – and the way that we engage with it – by changing its raison d'etre.

Altering the rules, so an @name reference doesn't count as characters would be helpful. Simplifying the .@reply logic would definitely be a step forward to streamlining the look of tweets, as well as improving ease of use for people to share content.

Radically changing the timeline functionality, so virtual bots and algorithms 'edit' and decide what content we see, feels like a step backward. There's a genuine benefit to the straight 'newest' to 'oldest' approach that keeps users in control, and allows us to organically discover content, rather than all being sold the same story.

The killer would be increasing Twitter's character count – potentially, as rumoured, to 10,000, just like Twitter's direct messaging app.

Already people are trying to trick the system by using extended paragraphs of text in an image to convey a longer message. But is that really better than a concise tweet with a more engaging image, gif or video, and a link to the content in long-form elsewhere? I'd love to see the engagement figures on that.

Yes, Twitter's 140-character limit can be frustrating, especially in an era when the links, images and videos that increase interaction with your tweets by 313% eat into your valuable character count. (In fact, giving us back the character-count for links, images and videos would be huge step forward).

We – as content creators – shouldn't just be demanding more space, though. We should be embracing Twitter's simplicity and brevity, and adapting our approach. The second Twitter starts changing its role as a medium, it loses the very reason for its very existence. And none of us would want tha...