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You've probably heard the news, maybe even on Twitter. The microblogging site, struggling to maintain growth and increase its revenue, is looking to shake things up. And that could mean ditching one of Twitter's defining characteristics: the 140-character tweet limit.
Tweets might not just get a little longer, however, they may become much longer. Twitter is considering allowing tweets up to 10,000 characters long. What effect will that have on attorneys who tweet?
From Microblogging to Novella Writing?
To give you a sense of how big of a switch 10,000 characters would be, this post is approximately 3,000 characters alone. You'd be able to include three of these posts in a single tweet. Ten-thousand characters are about 1,500 to 2,000 words (depending on whether you write like Judith Butler or Ernest Hemingway) or about five single-spaced pages.
Hard-core Twitter users were not excited.
The point of the switch, though, isn't to convince the converted. Instead, it's to make the platform more accessible and helpful to new users, who often struggle to adapt to Twitter's idiosyncrasies.
Good for Lawyers?
For attorneys, the longer tweets could be a double edged sword. One of the benefits of Twitter is that it encourages (requires, really) succinct, attention-grabbing messages. The relative brevity of tweets can lead to greater engagement -- users follow your link, respond with a message, or retweet your words themselves.
Longer tweets may discourage that sort of engagement. Your Twitter dashboard could look more like a series of emails, less like a lot of short conversations. Plus, some argue, if Twitter starts looking like Facebook or Medium, there won't be much reason left to use it.
On the other hand, sometimes bigger is better. As Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey explained when news of the change leaked, many users are already trying to skirt around the 140-character limit:
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.
Instead, what if that text ... was actually text? Text that could be searched. Text that could be highlighted. That's more utility and power.
Longer tweets could allow attorneys to engage in more substantive conversations and information sharing. Instead of directing potential clients offsite, you could provide more info right on the Twitter platform. A lot more info.
And if longer tweets make Twitter more accessible, there could be a whole new audience for your online musings.
What do you think?