Over at the Wall Blog @gordonmacmillan is questioning whether Twitter needs to innovate to stay ahead…

As much as I love using it [Twitter], however, I’m also convinced that it needs to change if it is to continue to develop in such a way that it isn’t simply swallowed up by one of its bigger rivals.

Think about those 140 characters. So many have written pieces over the six years since Twitter launched about that number, questioning why so few and why stick to it so rigidly? As Twitter develops, the 140-character limit has come to seem a serious flaw. Some have gone as far as saying that such limitations will make it ‘obsolete’.

That is going too far, but it becomes even more of an issue as the site steps up its bid to turn itself into a money-making business and secure its future success. The key to that success is its ability to attract advertisers and convince them to buy in to a 140-character social-media ad strategy, underpinned by Promoted Tweets and Promoted Trends.

I understand his point. But I honestly think too much innovation could kill Twitter. Which I know is quite a bizarre thing to say…

But Twitter’s power lies in it’s ability to spread news and information quickly. And central to this is the 140 character limit. It forces users to communicate in a fast and efficient manner. So if they change this they could ruin their platform.

Also the 140 character limit should not be a problem for advertisers. Anyone who uses Facebook Ads or Google AdWords will be use to character limits. Also allowing longer adverts may look out of place and turn users off the network.

The one place where Twitter could innovate though is their API. I’ve believed for a long time that they should charge for API usage. Now, that doesn’t mean charging 17 year old App developers — that would simply stifle innovation. But there is no reason why Twitter could not charge for an API+. For example they could provide far more cached ReTweet and Mentions data. Along with a whole number of other metrics — which would be of great use to marketers.

Of course we can pontificate all we like on how Twitter should commercialise their platform. Ultimately though they will do whatever they want. But one thing I’m sure of is they don’t wan’t to mess with their 140 character, golden formula.