Twitter users are about to get a bit of extra space to express themselves as the service looks set to take links and photos out of the 140-character limit.
At the moment, if you add a photograph to your update it takes 24 characters; a link will take up 23, even when shortened. That eats into already limited space space for commenting on the material, and has led to some creative thinking from Twitter users, including screenshots of text and tweets that span several updates.
Twitter hasn’t commented on the proposal yet, but Bloomberg cited a source who suggested the change could take place within two weeks.
Removing this limitation would loosen the restriction slightly, but falls far short of a more dramatic change that was mooted for the service earlier in the year. There were indications that Twitter was considering increasing the character count significantly, with up to 10,000 characters on the table. Having to painstakingly craft tweets so they fall under the 140-character limit is not an ideal situation for retaining new users, who could just as easily pen a 500-word screed on Facebook and dump as many photos and links as they like.
The change sounds subtle, and like something only journalists and the people who run brand accounts care about. While those are both true, any tinkering to how effectively Twitter’s users can communicate on its platform is a significant shift. Twitter has been struggling for quite some time to make its service more approachable.
Chief executive Jack Dorsey has said in recent months that the company is looking at how people use the platform and experiment with different ways to display text.
If it comes to pass, it will be one of a number of changes Twitter has implemented to make its platform more flexible and relevant to users. Among those are the introduction of live video streaming and GIFs in tweets, and the controversial introduction of the algorithmic timeline.