3 min

Will Twitter eliminate its 140-character post limit?

March 2015

Dave Winer has wanted to Twitter to remove the 140-character barrier for a long while now. I can't recall anyone else expressing this sentiment for so long. I simply have not noticed a lot of outrage about the 140-char limit over the past couple years.

Dave made a couple posts recently:

It seems that Twitter ceases to be Twitter if it allows text posts of any size.

What would the UI/UX be if Twitter removed its 140-char limit? Would the entire post appear in the feed, or would only a snippet be displayed along with a "read more" type of link?

What would users think about this? At the moment, users can read all of the content by viewing only the stream or feed of posts. Will users want to click "read more" links to view long tweets?

The 140-char limit can be circumvented now by writing the lengthy post elsewhere, like at Blogger, Medium, Tumblr, Wordpress, Ghost, one's own domain, etc., and then copying the link for the long post and pasting it into a tweet. Users can click that type of "read more" link now. I don't understand why this is so hard to accept.

Actually, it's already accepted by a lot of Twitter users who post links in their tweets that point to longer posts.

I think a lot of users would be irritated by long posts on a service that has forced users to be concise since 2006.


On a side note, I access Dave Winer's RSS feeds more often than any other site or service. For a long time, I've admired his work for the web, and I'm glad that he's still hacking. I don't always agree with his viewpoints, but that's good because I like challenges.

I currently disagree with his trend toward programming with a lot of client-side JavaScript for his Live Blog content and his main site, especially as he sounds the horn for supporting the open web.

His new content app and/or main site violates or breaks basic web functions:

  • highlighting and copying text occurs in an abnormal way. I cannot simply copy the title for a post.
  • the back button is broken or does not exist

The best way for me to read Dave's postings is within my site here. Naturally, Dave produces RSS feeds, so I embed the contents of those feeds within pages at JotHut, using my feed= command.

What's interesting is that Twitter's so-called web site is a major web abuser. Maybe that's intentional in order to get people to use its app on the phone.

Twitter's website crimes:

  • back button is broken on the phone
  • cannot open a post in the background on the phone
  • copying text fails to work without JavaScript enabled

It's fascinating that a publicly-traded company that's worth billions and employs thousands can create such a miserable web experience on the phone.

It's getting increasingly difficult for websites to function normally and easily. Too many people are attempting to build their websites to function like a native app, and that's abusive to the web.

I think that I prefer the 1995 web look with some media queries to make the sites a little responsive for today's screens.

Related: Breaking the web

I like Winer's views on the open web. I'm glad that he offers his RSS feeds, so that I can easily view his blog postings on my own site.

But Dave publishes too many of his other thoughts at Twitter only instead of using the "Indieweb": http://indiewebcamp.com approach of posting on his personal site first and then syndicating to the silos.

In order to read what Dave is thinking about, regarding programming or open web projects, I have to consume his RSS feeds and also view his Twitter feed. I'm not a Twitter user, so I only occasionally view Dave's Twitter feed.

The open web approach would mean that I would only need to consume his RSS feeds.

#programming - #web - #javascript - #moronism - #rss - #indieweb- #blogging

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