Ten year since it’s launch Twitter doubled it’s typical 140 character limit to 280 characters. A decision that doesn’t seem very popular by most users. How can Twitter restore this horrible, potentially fatal mistake?
Twitter’s destroyed its USP. The whole point, for me, was how inventive people could be within that concise framework. #Twitter280characters
— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) November 8, 2017
Most Twitter users like the challenge to make a point within 140 characters. It’s what makes it fun to compose a tweet and sharpens the mind. This may seem exaggerated but for hardcore users it’s a big part of Twitters appeal.
I don't plan on using the entire new #280characters word limit unless I have to, I mean that's a lot of characters guys, what on earth do you expect me to use to fill all that space? I mean really, who talks that much? People would just keep talking and talk until you got so anno
— Dannielle (@nionvox) November 9, 2017
Besides that, the expansion makes it harder to read your timeline. The original 140 character-tweet made it easy to scan your timeline. With the characters doubled the flow is gone. Which means tweets will be less relevant. It just doesn’t look and feel good anymore. Twitter has again become more like Facebook.
We all have 280 characters? Well, as Shakespeare wrote, “Brevity is the soul of wit. The soul of wit is what brevity is. Brevity? Soul of wit? They're the same thing. Like if you had brevity in one hand and the soul of wit in the other, you’d be hard pressed to tell them apart.”
— Stephen Colbert (@StephenAtHome) November 8, 2017
So how can Twitter fix this mistake without losing face? It’s not that hard. They just have to add two options in the settings. Users should be able to choose if they want to use 140 or 280 characters. The second option should be that you can also indicate what tweets you do and don’t want to see by length.
The first option should not be without consequence. Here is how Twitter can fix it’s blunder: when you choose to use 280 characters Twitter should add a small label Amateur next to your twitter handle. Users who pick 140 characters will be labeled Pro. Problem solved. Just wait and see.