Twitter’s added another element to its Twitter Blue subscription package, with Blue members now able to write tweets up to 10,000 characters long, while they can also utilize text formatting options, like bold and italics, providing more creative opportunities.
We’re making improvements to the writing and reading experience on Twitter! Starting today, Twitter now supports Tweets up to 10,000 characters in length, with bold and italic text formatting.— Twitter Write (@TwitterWrite) April 14, 2023
Sign up for Twitter Blue to access these new features, and apply to enable…
Which is cool, I guess. I mean, I’m not sure that anyone actually wants to read a 10k character tweet, but nice to have the option. I guess.
Twitter Blue subscribers could already post tweets up to 4k characters in length, providing expanded opportunity to share more in-depth posts. But even those are a little annoying, with the tweets cut off after the first 280 characters in-stream. You then have to tap through to read the rest, which feels somewhat counter-intuitive for Twitter and its traditional UI.
But maybe it just takes some getting used to – in any event, Twitter chief Elon Musk seems convinced that a key barrier to people posting longer content in the app is the existing length restrictions, and that by removing them, and expanding what’s possible, that will see more users sharing more of their original content to the platform direct, as opposed to linking people off to their Wordpress site, or YouTube in the case of video uploads.
Which is another element of Twitter Blue, with subscribers also able to post videos up to 60 minutes long, but it remains to be seen whether users really want to lean back and watch an hour long clip in the tweet feed.
Does it really matter to creators whether they have to add a YouTube link? Right now, probably not, but then again, maybe, as Twitter continues to build out its monetization tools for users, that’ll become a bigger consideration, as people look to monetize their longer videos in the app.
Musk has also pledged to provide better revenue share than YouTube, if possible, and I guess, in theory, if everything were to go right, Twitter could become an expanded content hub, which would see more original material posted to the app, and more users coming to Twitter, more often, to consume it.
But I don’t know – for context, at this point right now, in this article that you’re reading, I’m just now closing in on 2,000 characters. Do you really want double, or 4x this amount of text jammed into a single tweet?
Twitter has, of course, tried longer form text before, with its Notes platform that it rolled out last year.
✨ Introducing: Notes ✨— Twitter Write (@TwitterWrite) June 22, 2022
We’re testing a way to write longer on Twitter. pic.twitter.com/SnrS4Q6toX
As you can see in this overview, with Notes, you entered your longer text into a dedicated, blogging-style window, with users able to include up to 2,500 words per post, along with images, embedded tweets and more.
That seems like a better format for long-form content – but Twitter ended the Notes experiment shortly after Musk took over in October last year, with this new variation instead just making regular tweets even longer, with what will end up being massive walls of text that spool out from a ‘show more’ prompt.
Though there are seemingly a lot of users that are experimenting with longer tweets at present, so there may well be some case for them. But then again, those users are probably seeing good response to their longer tweets because more people are engaging with them – because the only way to read the rest of the tweet is to click on it, which then leads to better-than-normal interaction rates.
That’s probably misleading, in a metric sense, but maybe not, and maybe there is a demand for ridiculously long tweets that I just don’t see, along with the expanded monetization potential for longer content.
Because, of course, with longer content, video or text, Twitter can also insert more ads, and that could be key to Musk’s broader plans for creator revenue share, in allocating a percentage of any ads shown in long-form posts with the creators of them. Musk has promised to implement an ad revenue share system based on tweets, though he hasn’t actually done it as yet, and maybe, this is where he’s headed with longer uploads, building in more capacity to pay creators for their content.
But it just feels a little out of place. At this point, this article is now up to 4k characters, spaces included, which provides some more context on how much you could actually fit in a 10k character tweet.
The text formatting options, meanwhile, have been in development for a while, and could add something new to the Twitter experience.
Though it’s not really new, as Twitter already supports Unicode functionality, which means that you’ve always been able to use text formatting options in tweets, if you really wanted.
It’s just not native, or intuitive - and maybe, by adding them into the composer, that’ll get more people dressing up their tweets with different text displays.
But it’s a bit rich that Twitter’s asking you to pay for these features. Like, you get the benefit of giving us more of your original content, for the low, low price of $8 per month, and if you want to monetize longer form content – i.e. make money from Twitter – you have to pay for the privilege. Which is not really how that equation is supposed to work, but that’s where we’re at.
And again, for context, this article is now around 5k characters long, spaces included. Twitter Blue users will now be able to post a single tweet that’s double this length.
Is that what people want? We’ll find out.