Another element of Elon Musk’s ‘Twitter 2.0’ reformation plan is giving users more capacity to share longer posts, either in video or text form, within the app.
Musk has repeatedly noted his desire to build YouTube-like features into the app, enabling users to post longer video, in order to keep viewers from clicking across to another app to consume video content (and provide another monetization opportunity for creators). Longer text is another area of focus, with Musk also telling users that longer tweets – potentially up to 4,000 characters – are coming soon.
So how would that work?
Short-form text has been a foundational element of Twitter, so you can’t just suddenly switch to walls of text dominating the tweet feed, right?
As you can see in this example, longer tweets would likely appear in-stream at the regular tweet length, with a ‘Show more’ indicator at the end of the first 280 characters. Users could then expand the tweet to read more, with potentially the full 4,000 characters then displayed in a longer tweet panel.
That would enable Twitter to provide more room to share longer thoughts, without interrupting the tweet stream too much. But then again, it does also seem like the only way to reduce that massive tweet panel again would be to scroll down to the bottom of the expanded tweet - and if the character limit is indeed increased to 4k, that could be a lot of annoying scrolling just to find out what’s hidden behind that ‘Show more’ marker.
Twitter could solve for this by providing more info on exactly how much longer the full tweet goes. It’s experimenting with a similar notification for tweet creators, noting that only the first 280 characters will be displayed for their longer tweets.
It could similarly update the notification on the ‘Show more’ prompt, with something like ‘Read remaining 3,000 characters’ as the indicator instead, which could save users from tapping, and unspooling a massive article within a tweet.
That could, however, reduce the amount of engagement with longer tweets – but then again, not indicating the full length could, in effect, have the same impact, as users might get sick of expanding out massive tweets and just stop tapping the prompt either way.
It’s also not clear that this is something that users want on Twitter, given its historic focus on short-form messaging, and it’ll be interesting to see how it’s received if/when it does eventually get rolled out.
Twitter’s been trying to work out a better way to share longer form content for some time. Prior to the Musk takeover, Twitter had been experimenting with ‘Notes’, which enabled users to create posts of up to 2,500 words that could then be natively embedded into the Twitter app for easy sharing.
It seems that this project has now been shelved, in favor, potentially, of longer tweets, with the idea being that this will alleviate the need to send screenshots of text, while also helping Twitter boost engagement and dwell time, and host a wider variety of content formats.
There’s no word as yet on a live test of longer tweets, nor whether it will be made available to all users or just Twitter Blue subscribers (longer video looks set to be a Twitter Blue exclusive element).
We’ll keep you updated on any progress.