FFS, Twitter is upping its character limit to 280

No word on whether or not they're sorting out the Nazis

Here is a list of things people have been constantly begging @jack to roll out on Twitter:

  • An edit button
  • Better ways to tackle abuse
  • Less Nazis

Good news: he hasn’t done them! Here is what Twitter have done though:

  • Doubled the character limit from 140 to 280, which literally nobody asked for or needs.

The new feature is only currently available to a limited amount of beta testers, but will soon be rolled out for everyone to enjoy. In a blog, Twitter’s product manager Aliza Rosen said that the character limit, aka the entire point of Twitter in the first place, was “a major cause of frustration for people tweeting in English” although for some, “there may be an emotional attachment to 140 characters”. People are understandably pissed off about the change, and not necessarily because of any underlying emotional attachment to the previous limit.

For one, Twitter has made no real effort to curb the amount of abuse and actual Nazism on its website. While it does have procedures to report accounts, people who are spreading hate and abuse on the site are rarely actually suspended or punished. Those people now have 140 extra characters. Donald Trump is allowed to try to start wars on Twitter daily, and the only saving grace is that it takes him 30 minutes to type a new tweet.

Secondly, brevity is at the heart of Twitter. It’s its entire selling point. Rosen stated this in her blog, but kept hammering home that this would never change; that 280 characters is still brief. For a blog, yeah, but for a site whose entire existence hinges on 140 characters it’s a bit of a leap. Give me 10 extra to work with, but 100 per cent extra is a lot. Sticking to 140 is a skill. That forced economy has been the foundation of what’s best about Twitter: that even though it’s a cesspit, it’s a very funny cesspit. The tight character restraint is behind some of the dumbest, most ridiculous, smartest accounts on Twitter, and without the necessity to keep it short, that’s lost. Obviously those people will still be funny, and they can still keep it within 140 if they want, but it’s not quite the same.

The data Twitter accumulated indicated that 280 characters would encourage people to post more, but nobody really needs an excuse. People already take absolute liberties with [1/245] threads (that they rarely thread properly) that could just be put on Medium or a blog or kept inside. Self-importance is, naturally, endemic on Twitter, which is mostly fine. But the idea of a 280 character quoted tweet of a 280 character tweet thread is enough to make me log off and never look back. But I won’t! I will never log off! I will stay on Twitter, seeking validation and attention in 140 or 280 or 420 (lol) characters until it burns itself to the ground, and I will die with it in a blaze of shame and glory.