Sunday, May 31, 2020
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A Compelling Argument Against Twitter’s New 280-Character Limit

Twitter announced this week that it would be rolling out a new feature that gives certain users a new 280-character limit, doubling the previous 140-character restriction. Though Twitter initially installed the 140 character-limit because of SMS text messaging’s 160-character limit, the whole constraint is now from a bygone era.

Many Twitter users would argue that the character limit was part of the hilarity and brilliance on the platform. Brevity is the soul of wit, after all. And in a world surrounded by deafening increases in noise, we possibly didn’t need more word boosts. We can think of one presidential man who definitely doesn’t need the extra Twitter characters.

Anyway, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced the news on Twitter with a 280-character tweet. It was meant to be informative and a bit cheeky, showcasing the platform’s new ability to users.

The move backfired on Dorsey. Users were quick to point out that Dorsey’s tweet included unnecessary word padding and with editing, could be significantly reduced.

PhD student Brian Barone edited the tweet down to 179 characters. Meanwhile, Vice editor Caitlin Kelly whittled the message to 139 characters, just under the previous restriction’s limit.

In both instances, Dorsey’s message remains unchanged in meaning and function while removing the wordiness. And sure, Dorsey might have been adding some character just to prove a point regarding the new Twitter feature, but the point remains—280 characters is kind of excessive.

To be fair, Dorsey was a good sport about whole thing. He admitted he was getting used to the feature like the rest of us.

We can still go back, Jack. It doesn’t seem to be generating new positive attention on the platform whatsoever. Remove it and all will be fine. Though, this is the internet so I’m sure someone will have a problem with that, too.


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