Twitter’s reputation as a place for quick, pithy thoughts took another blow on Tuesday: The company rolled out a new feature that will make it easier for users to send a bunch of connected tweets at one time — often referred to as a tweetstorm.
Now users can write multiple tweets and Twitter will automatically thread them together and publish them in unison. It means that people can essentially post longer thoughts than Twitter’s already-expanded 280-character limit allows.
Twitter will also label threads with a “show this thread” icon so people know there is more to read. The company has been testing a product like this for months, but just launched it to everyone on Tuesday.
Tweetstorms have been around for years — venture capitalist Marc Andreessen was perhaps the first well-known person to utilize them — but they have always been a pain to create. They required users to publish each tweet in a thread one by one, which took time and could get complicated, depending on how long the tweetstorm was.
The new feature should make sending a thread of tweets much simpler, meaning more people will actually do it. Twitter’s belief is that longer posts, not shorter ones, perform better on Twitter. When the company doubled the length of a tweet last month, Twitter claimed that longer posts resulted in more engagement. (BuzzFeed found the same.)
So more tweetstorms, theoretically, should mean more engagement for Twitter.
It’s not clear what took Twitter such a long time to launch a feature like this. Again, tweetstorms have been around for years, and even Twitter executives use them regularly. But Twitter was slow to ship longer tweets out of fear that users would reject them, so it’s likely that when Twitter execs finally warmed up to the idea of longer posts, a tweetstorm product sounded like a good idea, too.
The update should be live to users on iOS, Android and Twitter.com in “the coming weeks,” the company wrote on its blog.