It's all about the meta!

The news that Twitter may soon exclude links and images from the 140 character limit has been widely greeted with cries of "it's about time."

Some were, however, equally disappointed when the rumoured increase to 10000 characters was rejected by the board in favour of retaining the existing flow of the stream.

We have been able to embed various media in Tweets even before the launch of Twitter Cards, so why not larger blocks of text?


But it could go further.

Twitter is live, is now, but we cannot solely rely on 140 character snippets and videos. Despite what appears to be in vogue, live video is not the great panacea for online services. Mobile connectivity has improved dramatically over recent years but there are still many dead zones and relatively low monthly data caps that often make live video impractical.

Besides, believe it or not, people still like to read!

Having real time updates on current events is fantastic, especially when they are from eye witnesses, but what we gain in speed we often lose in clarity. Inaccuracies and bias can manifest. It is, therefore, good to have more in depth pieces follow the initial reports which have the important luxury of being fact checked.

News breaks on Twitter so why not also host it after the event?

Facebook has Instant Articles, Google has AMP, surely it would make sense for Twitter to provide for something similar; publishers could embed a news article or blog post directly in a tweet (rather than just a link) so it is native, pre-cached and instantly loaded.

As with Instant Articles, ads could be sold against these articles and the revenue split between publishers and the network. Maybe bloggers could even get in on the action encouraging more to cross post.

Looking at the examples of Facebook and Medium it appears that - at least part of - the route to success is to be both publisher and platform.

Perhaps Twitter should follow their lead.

Colin Walker Colin Walker colin@colinwalker.blog