While Monday wasn't the greatest day for Twitter India with the company deciding to stop global engineering work at the Bengaluru development centre and laying off half of its employees in Bengaluru, the Twitter global team officially rolled out a feature that was promised in May 2016- excluding photos, videos, GIFs, polls, and quote tweets from the 140-character limit.
Twitter officially announced this in a tweet that includes 139 characters of text and a GIF, that is now pinned on its official account.
Twitter seems to have rolled out this update globally and I was able to verify that it works for Indian users. While the latest update notes for Android only stated- 'A few updates to make Twitter even better. Happy Tweeting', the iOS update was less cryptic and stated-
With the above moves, Twitter aims to widen its userbase and appeal to a larger pool of users who have so far shunned the platform because of its strict 140-character limit. But with Twitter facing tough competition in the social networking space from the likes of Facebook and Snapchat it is difficult to tell if increasing character limits could help Twitter gain necessary traction.
With its value in public markets, slipping from a 2013 high of $40 billion to an estimated $10 billion in February 2016, Twitter has been looking for growth hacks and integrations to make its platform more appealing to the general public. Live video streaming has been one of Twitter's focus areas too, with the acquisition and launch of Periscope. The company recently partnered with National Football League(NFL) to stream 10 Thursday Night Football games globally.
But since Twitter has been facing dwindling user growth and declining ad revenues for a few quarters, Recode recently noted that Twitter's board of directors would be meeting to discuss Twitter's fate as a standalone company and also ranked possible buyers with Google, Facebook, and Microsoft taking the top three spots. So could this new update could be a last ditch effort to 'restart' Twitter's engines for exponential growth before a possible acquisition?