January 15, 2016

What could 10,000 character tweets mean for publishing?


Last week, Kurt Wagner at Re/Code reported that Twitter was “considering” an overhaul of a most identifiable feature: the 140 character per tweet limit. Predictably, responses have ranged from over the moon to outraged. But the fact remains that, after a period of exponential growth and basically uninterrupted success, capped by their IPO in 2013, and their massively lucrative first day of trading, Twitter has done little but hemorrhage money.

Perhaps one reason is that that the INSANE initial valuation for the company (nearly $40 billion by the end of its first year) was never anything other than irrational exuberance. Another reason might be that Twitter has been unable to add users at the same blistering pace that earned it that initial valuation.

Now, the company is desperately seeking new ways to add revenue in the face of flat-lining customer growth—a tricky proposition for anyone, much less an enterprise organized around the promotion and distribution of “pointless babble” and “short burst[s] of inconsequential information” (all that according to Twitter creator and CEO Jack Dorsey). Previous efforts, such as the acquisition and integration of Periscope and Vine (two obnoxious innovative video sharing platforms) and the implementation of the Twitter Moment, have failed to ignite growth. And so we arrive at the proposed 10,000 character tweet.

Wagner, in a follow-up to his initial report, suggests that the central goal of this proposal is to allow publishers to host more #content natively on Twitter, keeping users and readers within the Twitter ecosystem, and therefore within the reach of advertisers and content marketers. It’s not surprising that Twitter wants more advertising dollars, and expanding their platform to accommodate more material for evil wizards social media advertisers to co-opt seems like a pretty good way to go about that.

The question remains: what does all of this mean for small publishers like Melville House? For that, let’s turn to our very own social media marketing maven/guru/brander, Liam O’Brien.

SR: Hi Liam, just one quick question, because I know you’re busy doing a lot of cool and funny tweeting for Melville House. In 140 characters or less, what does it all mean?

LO: I think back to the words of the great Khalil Gibran, who once said: Somebody once told me the world was gonna roll me I ain’t the sharpest

There you have it! From the great frontier of social media marketing, a bold prediction for a bold future. Enjoy your 10,000 characters!




Simon Reichley is the Director of Operations and Rights Manager at Melville House.