If you’re a frequent tweeter, or even someone who regularly reads Jaden Smith’s or President’s Trump’s absurd tweets, you may have noticed that everyone is getting a little more room to share their thoughts and feelings. The new 280 character rule, exactly twice as many characters as before, is Twitter’s most recent and most controversial update in some time.
When Twitter first began, it was such a nuisance to have to write everything you want to say or rant about it in under 140 characters. Especially during political seasons when there was so much to talk about, but only limited space to do it. But, this is what made Twitter so magical in the first place. We were forced to be concise, creative, and clever with our words. We had to get our message out in the shortest, but most meaningful way possible.
However, having double the amount of characters, in an essence, takes away from that “magic” and innovation that Twitter had once encouraged. No, we will not be writing essays and memoirs now that we have twice the amount of room, but we may become lazy with making tweets more short and sweet. Personally, developing tweets that were witty and interesting was a great accomplishment, something only few could successfully execute.
Another consequence of the update is that the extra characters could cause the phasing out of hashtags, which have given birth to social messages and movements. There’s no point in saying “#LoveTrumpHate” if you could just write it out and say the exact same thing.
This isn’t to say that the 280 character update will only be negative– there are plenty of positive effects as well. In most other social media platforms, there are no character limits. On Facebook, people can write letters and paragraphs to explain their thoughts, and on Instagram a caption could mean a plethora of things. So, Twitter adding to their character count is not exactly out of the blue or unnatural. 280 characters does provide more room to create and respond to tweets in a more meaningful and elaborate way than before. For instance, we also won’t ever have to suffer the inconvenience of having to break one tweet up into two separate tweets– our messages will be much more cohesive than with a stricter limit.
Regardless of whether you appreciated the 140 limit, or found it annoying and welcome the 280 limit, this expansion in Twitter’s character will definitely have its impacts. Expanding the word limit will definitely have its ups and downs and bring on different tweets, but either way it is more room to get your message across than before. The true test of this social experiment will be when Kanye returns to Twitter, and then we will be able to see just how much we wish we could return to 140.