After ten years of limiting its tweets to 140 characters (a limit imposed due to the limitations of old school SMS systems), Twitter decided it was time to experiment with the character limit and change it to 280 characters as a trial for some of its users. I am not sure why 280, but it is not going to keep me awake at night. Apparently it did get a lot of people hot-and-bothered. Like Dave Pell (of NextDraft):
…the reason Twitter thrived is because people were not intimidated by a big blank page that reminded them of the essays they dreaded during youth. Most people hate writing. Hence our societal move toward emojis and animated GIFs as a main mode of communication. 140 characters is so short that it doesn’t feel like writing. It certainly doesn’t feel like you need to be a writer to participate. 280 moves you away from “everyone can do it” and towards, “this is a great place for English majors.” And trust me, as an English major, that’s not a path that leads to an increased stock market valuation.
He wasn’t alone – Twitter was ablaze with dismissals of 280 characters. It left me scratching my head. What’s the big deal? I mean you don’t have to use 280 characters. Whether you are using 140 or 280 characters to be an idiot/genius/self-promotional/funny/angry, you are going to be an idiot/genius/self-promotional/funny/angry. Continue reading “Change is hard, even in Silicon Valley”