© Neil Spark

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Too many words

October 1, 2017


Twitter is in a perilous position. It’s losses are increasing. In the fourth quarter it was $167 million – well up from $90 million a year before. Revenues are flat at $638m. Although the President of the United States has boosted its profile – and its users by two million to 319 million – it hasn’t helped.


Twitter needs a strategy to stop the bleeding. Doubling the character limit won't be an effective tourniquet. I know a lot of people don’t like the 140-character restriction, including advertisers. As Communication expert Carol Snowden argues, advertisers want more characters. They think they will be able to more effectively promote their products.


Changing a company’ s fundamental formula can lead to even greater losses as Coca Cola found out when it changed its recipe in 1985. Despite many ostensible reasons for the change, the real one was a $50 million saving. Coke drinkers boycotted their product and the company reinstated its old recipe three months after it was dumped.


The journalist in me likes the character limit. It forces the Tweeter to get to the point. A lot of information can be gleaned in a short time. There’s no wading through a post that’s too long and still not get the point. And, of course a way around that limit is to provide links. I've had a Twitter account for years; I opened my latest last year.


I want Twitter to survive. I hope the company comes up with a way of reversing its current ill-fortune and abandons the 280-character limit.

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