Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Doubling Twitter character is really not going to help

It seems like 140 characters just isn't enough for Twitter users to say anything interesting. Twitter Inc., which has seen its usage stagnate in recent years, has decided to increase its character limit from the iconic 140 characters to 280.
This is in spite of the fact that the average English tweet length is just 34 characters (imagine how fascinating they must be!), and the average Japanese tweet just 15 characters.
Perhaps this move is mainly to placate Donald Trump, who doesn't seem to be able to restrict many of his tweets to 140 characters, and just uses ellipses to link together consecutive tweets. Which kind of defeats the object somewhat...
Surely, the point of Twitter - and, quite frankly, just about the only thing it has going for it - is the idea of brevity. It held out the promise (by and large undelivered, apart from some standout efforts in the early days) of some haiku-class economy of language without sacrificing a high quality of discourse. What we got in practice was a lot of mercifully brief drivel, and an ideal platform for short attention spans and those with little to say.
Either way, I am not seeing the logic that doubling the character limit is somehow miraculously going to double Twitter usage. Perhaps halving it might be more beneficial, and more likely to offer a challenge and revive the concept? But then again, I don't really care.

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