340/366 – Tweet Threading

The way technology as it comes out evolves sometimes happens in a bit of a slow yet dynamic way, and a lot of the time, it’s through a feature that is missing from the base software and which is either thought of from someone else (and added in) or through a natural evolution of the usage of the tech in question. Such as it is with Twitter, whose 140 character trademark limit has created a lot of succinct and insightful thoughts but which for the most part has not been thought of to practice much of support for extended ideas.

Enter the Twitter thread, which is actually suggested to put your Tweets together by tweet, then replying to your own tweet with something more (except without the reply to your own username). Such threads have been shown to be pretty long – maybe 7 or 8 tweets in a row in some of the most extreme cases – and often contain a lot of prolific and otherwise longer-form thoughts that wouldn’t really work for a 140 character stream of ideas. To date, there hasn’t been a big effort to make being able to have these threads or a longer form tweet be a core part of the software, and so third parties such as TwitLonger have taken it upon themselves to support the effort.

That doesn’t necessarily mean Tweet threading doesn’t have value. It does create a nice line of thoughts that is able to be individually liked and retweeted as necessary, there’s a chance that the replies that show up to individual tweets can create a unique bunch of forks in the discussion, and it’s generally not affected by the the separation of ideas – in fact it might make them easier to digest. But that doesn’t mean that the threading process on Twitter doesn’t need an easier way to string everything together other than having to spam your reply button for your own timeline. It’s the kind of feature that demands a bit of a more elegant way to present it, such as through allowing it to be sent all at once, or even providing a way to have a “Read more” link that would put everything together all at once.

In the end, it’s things like this that potentially have a way of changing the core of how a technology works. A lot of the stuff in Twitter’s social media companion Facebook, for example, are now a part of the program because of things that changed what the function of the software was that had to be shoehorned in. Does this mean that Twitter’s 140 character limit days are over? Not necessarily, but with the suspension of that limit for direct messages and the growing tendency for people to thread their tweets together, it might be worth looking at official support for what is becoming a way for people to express themselves in ways that don’t require a short stream of thought. Such as it is with the evolution of tech these days, so Twitter would be well-suited to thinking about how to accommodate it.

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