Twitter’s 280-character jump depreciates the economy of words


Twitter’s shift to 280 characters has spawned annoying memes and trends.

Twitter recently made the unfortunate executive decision to allow users twice as many characters on its social media platform. Now too many people have the freedom to say too much.

I was one of the lucky Twitter users who had 280 characters during the trial phase, which means I’ve had two months longer than most to analyze the pros and cons of having twice as many characters as before.

In exactly 140 characters, here’s my argument:

However, since I’ve got about 400 words more to fit for a standard print article, I’ll keep going.
There are some people who really don’t need extra characters. Thanks to this unnecessary move, youths are now able to annoyingly clutter my timeline with irrelevant content that gives my thumb an unnecessary scrolling workout. For example:

Another example of someone who would be better off with less characters is President Donald Trump. Whether or not you support him, we can all agree his tweets garner lots of attention. And while the quality of his undiplomatic tweets is one argument, providing extra characters is a recipe for extra drama.

From a journalistic standpoint, I am now able to live tweet news and events without taking word count too much into consideration, but I also frequently find myself hesitating to send shorter tweets. Since I can spell out abbreviations, I spend more time typing political terms like “Appropriations” instead of “Approps,” which prevents me from getting news out as quickly as possible.

Ironically, this is what Twitter was trying to improve by doubling the character count. In a blog post, Twitter Product Manager Aliza Rosen reported findings of the trial I was a part of. Since less users reached the new character limit, “we believe people spent less time editing their Tweets in the composer.”

Other changes explained by Twitter include a wheel character counter instead of a numeric one. Display names can now be 50 characters, instead of 20. Additionally, Japanese, Korean and Chinese languages are do not have access to longer tweets “because cramming is not an issue in these languages.”

If I could have been a part of the decision to expand the character limit, I would have suggested 160 characters, instead of 280. Twitter bios have always been 160 characters. When tweets used to be 140 characters, sometimes I just needed a handful more characters to complete my thought.

Although having 280 characters to tweet song lyrics, funny quotes or a fuller thought is nice at times, it ultimately takes away from the challenge of carefully considering word choice.