Twitter to remove 140 character limit in direct messages

Twitter’s been in the tech news a lot this week. The first news story is that its CEO, Dick Costolo, will be stepping down as of July 1, with Twitter co-founder/chairman Jack Dorsey to serve as an interim CEO.

The other big news more directly affecting us Twitter users: also starting in July, Twitter’s lifting its 140 character limit for direct messages (DMs). Users will be able to send/receive DMs with up to 10,000 characters. However, the usual public-oriented tweets will stay at 140 characters.

Twitter’s been making some incremental improvements in recent months to its service. The most useful recent change is that they’ve started allowing retweeted posts to not count against the 140 character limit. As for why the direct message changes? Probably to compete better against the rise of messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, the latter which just hit its 1 billionth download from Google Play.

There’s been a lot of talk lately about Twitter’s supposed lack of popularity and difficulty in getting new users. While I don’t think it’ll top Facebook in number of users, Twitter’s already become quite entrenched, as anyone who’s seen an advertisement with a hashtag will notice. It’s also become a popular service among various communities, including people of color, activists, and news organizations. Twitter might not have an obnoxious “curation” service like Facebook (though it’s done some experiments), but I like it just fine. Of course, I’ve also seen other old tech favorites bite the dust (WebOS? Google Reader?), but despite Wall Street histrionics, I’d like to think Twitter will avoid going the route of Palm.

Flickr Creative Commons photo by Shawn Campbell (CC BY)

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