Ben Parr wrote on Mashable:

Twitter is about to become a major multimedia destination, thanks to some new partners and features.

Earlier today, we reported that Twitter is bringing multimedia to the stream. If you tweet a link to a video, for example, it will be embedded and play right in the Twitter stream. Twitter has “multiple partners” for today’s launch, including web video, live-streaming video, and video platform partners.

Reading this, I had to wonder, if Twitter had done this in the beginning, would they ever have grown to their current size? Or would they have failed to establish their uniqueness and been just another good idea that never quite caught hold.

More importantly, will adding multimedia hurt them?

I’ve maintained in the past that Twitter’s biggest limitation — the 140 character limit — is its killer feature. Instead of trying to be all things to all people, it does one thing exceptionally well — it forces people to be concise.

I’m reminded of the battle between Yahoo! and Google. Yahoo!’s homepage was a portal full of all sorts of stuff. Google’s homepage was a bunch of whitespace with a search form in the middle.

We all know who won that battle.

And there’s another issue — will it be easy for 3rd party Twitter clients to work with this change? If they get the tweets as text messages containing the URLs of the multimedia content, they should be able to handle it as they do now.

If Twitter hands them HTML code designed to display the multimedia, they’re going to have to update to process it. If that happens, users of clients that don’t update are going to have a bad experience that might lessen their usage.

I don’t expect that presenting linked media inline on Twitter’s website will hurt Twitter. It’s not a huge departure from their roots like adding widgets, walls, photo albums and such would be.

If client software has to deal with HTML code, that’d be a bigger issue. It could drive people from Twitter clients back to the website. Or it could drive weakly committed users away completely.