Twitter Is Making a Major Change and People Are Not Having It
Quick, what's the defining feature of Instagram? How about Snapchat? And Twitter? If you use social media, there's a rather straightforward answer here. Even if you can do Stories and video on Instagram, it's still about
photoshopping yourself into the life of a successful person sharing an image.
On Twitter, the defining feature -- beyond trolling -- has been its character limit. You get 140 characters to say what you need to say. There are certainly ways around that between threads and images, but for the most part, you're stuck with 140 characters.
On Tuesday, Twitter announced it's going to shake things up by allowing select users tweet up to 280 characters in a test run. In the announcement, Twitter says this is because in some languages it's easier to get a message out in fewer characters. Instead of reducing characters in some languages, users in every language except Japanese, Korean, and Chinese will get twice as many characters to talk about how shocking that episode of Game of Thrones was, what a good boy this dog is, and all the unpleasant things the block button (mostly) solves.
Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey was one of the first to tweet in the new format.
This is a small change, but a big move for us. 140 was an arbitrary choice based on the 160 character SMS limit. Proud of how thoughtful the team has been in solving a real problem people have when trying to tweet. And at the same time maintaining our brevity, speed, and essence! https://t.co/TuHj51MsTu— jack (@jack) September 26, 2017
This probably wasn't a great example of why people need more characters.
Predictably, people are annoyed. (They always are.) Some are providing hilarious examples of why bigger isn't always better along with TL;DR jokes and examples of people they aren't excited to get more characters from.
I'm not sure I like the newly expanded Twitter. On the one hand, it allows for more explanation and nuance, as well as better grammar. On the other, there's a benefit to brevity. It's like the old saw about preaching: "I'm sorry, but I didn't have time to prepare a short homily."— James Martin, SJ (@JamesMartinSJ) September 27, 2017
Developing story: Haiku is testing a six-line, 10/14/10 verse form.— Keith Phipps (@kphipps3000) September 26, 2017
honestly think of what lebron can do with 280 characters— hunter harris (@hunteryharris) September 26, 2017
*Us*: Twitter has a problem with harassment in 140 characters— Josh Hill (@jdavhill) September 26, 2017
*Twitter*: NOW YOU CAN HARASS PEOPLE WITH 280 CHARACTERS!
Will threads be half as long or twice as long— Emma Hinchliffe (@_emmahinchliffe) September 26, 2017
I have spent years perfecting my 140-character game. Twitter is a one-liner paradise. Now it's all going to be observational humor— John Podhoretz (@jpodhoretz) September 26, 2017
twitter users: let us edit tweets— Haley Byrd (@byrdinator) September 26, 2017
twitter: we made everything round
users: edit button
twitter: everyone is allowed to be twice as annoying
280 Characters was actually George RR Martin's orginial title for A Song of Ice and Fire— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) September 26, 2017
THREAD 👇— Colin Campbell (@colincampbell) September 26, 2017
The case against longer tweets. Let me begin. (1/60)
| 280 |— SanFranciscoMagazine (@sanfranmag) September 26, 2017
| IS |
| TOO |
| MANY |
The 140-character limit was the greatest editor many of us will ever have.— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) September 26, 2017
The 280-character limit is a terrible idea. The whole beauty of Twitter is that it forces you to express your ideas concisely (1/47)— James Poniewozik (@poniewozik) September 26, 2017
If you're upset about the 280 characters thing, just imagine what John Kelly must be thinking— Amir Tibon (@amirtibon) September 26, 2017
At this point, Twitter hasn't announced when the feature may roll out to all users. But the announcement did make it clear that the company is confident in its data research about the change, which makes it sound like there aren't enough memes in the world to stop Twitter from turning into salt bae and sprinkling those extra characters into your timeline.
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