Today our favorite social network announced that it has increased the maximum limit on post lengths to 60,000 characters. For some perspective, that’s about 10,000 words’ worth of prose, a fifth of a NaNoWriMo, and really, a ton of text. The increase seems to have been handed down arbitrarily, but transmitting a ton of text is hardly a chore for Facebook’s hardware, the test will be in our patience in reading text framed in narrow blue reply boxes. But does this increase in the sheer amount of content people can post change the face of Facebook?
If you’ve posted on web forums before, especially ones that allow discussion of political and religious matters, you know that there’ll be a number of people on your friends list that will regularly become ensnared in arguments that will simply scale off to oblivion. Muslims, Christians, Occupy, Communism, Glenn Beck, will find no shortage of inputs in regular discourse because people can go at it for ages. Unlike a web forum, Facebook isn’t moderated and the involved parties will simply have to tucker out or succumb to a sense of decency, especially when it comes to notification matters. (Yes, sometimes people are too lazy to unsubscribe from their own status updates that have been hijacked by argumentative interlopers.) On the flip side, it also allows for an interesting venue for aspiring writers and novelists to try and post a bunch of text at once. As to why they’d do it in status replies instead of as stand-alone Notes, I have no idea, but it’s there.
Meh, it’s just an arbitrary increase. Is anyone really going to post 60,000 characters worth of text at any time? For some perspective, some of our longer articles top out at 5,000 words, roughly half the new Facebook limit. It’ll always be there, that vast expanse to populate, but you’ll rarely think about it.