Now that the dust has settled after Twitter announced expanding the 140 character limit, there is still something left unsaid. This podcast episode decided to say it.

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Let me start by saying that I love Twitter. It was one of the first social media sites I became involved with and after the initial learning curve, came to enjoy the forced creativity to get my message out in 140 characters that still made sense. So now following the dust-up following the announcement that the limitation was being lifted, I was like so many other regular users who sighed at yet another change to the platform that would change its character. Yet, I continue to use the service and hope for all the good that the powers that be said would come from making the change and help its survival (and maybe quiet Wall Street shareholders). After all the world had not changed and life goes on.

Once I had a chance to sit back and reflect on some of my other experiences, I’ll tell you a story. It goes like this: There once was a channel called Bravo that provided film and performance entertainment where you looked forward to shows where people like Kevin Spacey describe how he developed his acting skills, watched movies about Romeo and Juliet, or looked forward to little known independent films. And then along came the strangely addictive “Queer Eye for the Straight Guy” that was a ratings rocket and Bravo discovered it could draw in large numbers of viewers at a tremendously reduced cost. What followed was a steady stream of reality shows from “Project Runway” to “The Real Housewives of… Wherever”. Ratings soared. In no time the channel made the transition from highbrow to reality and low scruples with impressive ratings and an earnings bonanza. It was still “Bravo” but no longer “Bravo”.

twisted people 1BPretty soon the other channels began to take notice and the “Discovery Channel” which primarily provided documentaries and popular science shows gradually began to work in popular reality shows like “The Deadliest Catch”, “the Dirtiest Job” and “Myth Busters”. The demographics much like Bravo began to change and the number of eyeballs soared.

Arts and Entertainment was the home of biographies and highbrow British mysteries such as ”Agatha Christie’s Poirot”. They too didn’t want to be left out of the reality TV cash haul and quickly developed their own programs while changing their brand to simply A&E and left behind the “arts” focus. Shows like “Dog the Bounty Hunter”, “Growing Up Gotti”, and “Criss Angel Mindfreak” became ratings goldmines. I don’t blame them because I’ll also admit that I lived for the latest episodes of “Dog the Bounty Hunter” and found myself going to Netflix or to PBS to get my regular dose of Poirot. Just like Bravo and the Discovery Channel before them, A&E was still A&E but not Arts and Entertainment.

And so the shoe I’m talking about dropping is pretty much like the stories of Bravo, Discovery, and A&E. Twitter talks about a better user experience when in reality what they are imagining is a sea change type shift that will alter the platform while hoping you won’t notice as one type of encounter fades and a new model replaces it. Twitter is great for breaking news event reactions and going to 10K characters allows it to sell ads based on breaking news stories for the major networks or even their reality shows. Also expect to see segmentation by type of user which allows them to apply an algorithm so they can better track what you see, click or send to further sell advertising based on you their user base. Sound familiar?

I’m not mad at them for going in this direction… you gotta make a buck where you can make a buck and I get that. Will Twitter still be Twitter? Sure it will… and won’t be just like Bravo, Discovery and A&E are still the same and yet different. I’m just saying that you the user needs to prepare for the difference.