Since last month, users of the popular Twitter client Tweetdeck have been given access to a brand new service called deck.ly. In a nutshell, this new functionality enables Tweetdeck users to post long tweets well beyond the 140 character limit – what is new is that within Tweetdeck, all users will see the longer tweet in full, like normal tweets; users of other clients will receive the tweet truncated with a url link to the longer text.
HERE’S WHERE IT’S HEADING
- Without the 140 constraint, lazy Tweetdeck users will feel no urge to condense their thoughts, sharpen their wits and be creative with the limits they’ve been given. Why bother trying to be short and sweet if you can just type away?
- Tweets will lose impact, and streams will become harder to digest. Hell, it’s already hard to scan and filter a stream today with 140 characters per tweet – what’s the upside there of adding unlimited rambling space?
- Boundaries will start to blur between blogging and micro-blogging. Twitter with no size limit starts to look dangerously like an RSS feed to me – what’s to stop us from writing 500 characters, 2,000 characters, 10,000 characters tweets now?
- Eventually, it will make Tweetdeck gain market share, but might turn hordes of users away from Twitter altogether, as the platform becomes more confused, cluttered and complex to navigate.
140 is not a “limit” of Twitter. It’s “the” core idea that makes it interesting: Twitter is not fun despite the 140 constraint, it is fun because of it.
Sure, playing football with just one ball, or Scrabble with 7 letters gives players limits – it would be easier to just throw all rules out the window and makes games easier. But like Twitter, Football and Scrabble are interesting because of the voluntary obstacles that the rules create:
- it’s because of the 140 limit that you twist your brains every time you want to say something, to say it with impact, humor and creativity;
- it’s because of the 140 limit that you agree to receive this endless deluge of updates from hundreds and thousands of other users – at least they’re short;
Rules matter because they force us to be more creative, but also because they bound us all together around common values, behaviors, and intents. Creating a two-speed Twitter with a larger podium on one particular client, is a bad idea because it risks breaking the shared culture that makes Twitter the true social network it is today.
IF YOU CAN’T TELL ME IN 140, I DON’T WANT TO HEAR IT IN 280.
Don’t get me wrong here – I want to hear what you have to say beyond 140, and get deeper into your ideas and thought process. But that’s called a blog, or an email or a face to face conversation. Forums and channels abound where you can express yourself without space constraints.
In Twitter, if you can’t tease and convince me to click on your link in 140 characters, you’re sure not going to get me in 280. The answer to a bad headlines is not long body copy, it’s a better, sharper headline.
PLEASE RT AND COMMENT IF YOU AGREE!
I’m having a hard time understanding how Twitter can let Tweetdeck undermine this core aspect of their platform – they probably should ban it altogether.
Until then, let’s say no to deck.ly – friends don’t let friends tweet beyond 140!