Oh Twitter. What are we going to do about you?
An official blogpost from the company revealed that they are testing, with a ‘small group’, doubling the character limit on tweets, from 140 characters to a humongous 280.
They’ve justified the move by comparing the way that, for example, the Japanese language can convey more information in fewer characters and that languages like English are more affected by ‘cramming’, with 9% of all tweets in English hitting the 140 limit, compared to only 0.4% in Japanese.
And it’s attempted to allay fears that this will see everyone suddenly become more verbose by pointing out that most tweets in Japanese have 15 characters, and most in English have 34 - that is, most people will still keep it brief.
Most importantly to Twitter: “In all markets, when people don’t have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and actually have some to spare, we see more people tweeting.”
However, given the platform’s continuing issues with abuse and reporting, this hardly seems like it should have been top of the company’s priority list. Moreover, one of the undoubted strengths of Twitter is the fact that people can’t witter on (unless launching into a thread) and forces them to get to the point, or to be beautifully pithy.
Both of these points were beautifully illustrated by this tweet:
This summed up most people’s thoughts:
Others were already taking steps to adapt to their new-found freedom:
And some had more ideas to improve the service:
Others feared for this brave new future:
While Twitter workers moved to assure people that they hadn’t forgotten about tackling abuse:
But the main problem? The real issue with this feature change?
Surely you’ve worked it out by now.
After Twitter as good as confirmed yesterday that Trump will never have his account suspended, no matter how many times he threatens nuclear war, then get yourself ready for double the nonsense - although, thankfully, he’s not been included in the initial test group.
Good luck America. Good luck everyone.