Twitter. It was a platform for memes and funny dog pictures long before the likes of Instagram. It allowed normal people a link to corporations and celebrities alike. And it allowed individuals of all races, colors, creeds, and abilities to craft 140-character jokes and become famous for 12 seconds until they got lost in people’s feeds.
But last night, the Twitter we all loved to hate and hated to love passed away at the age of 11.
Twitter has now decided that its most appealing feature, the fact that each message you sent out could only contain 140 characters, is too restricting to its users (at least those in the US). So, in an effort to become more appealing to English-language-wordsmiths everywhere, they’ve decided to raise the character count for a Tweet to 280 characters.
In a message to his legions of followers, Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey wrote that the 140-character limit was completely arbitrary and that the new 280 count limit would allow for greater expression among Twitter’s user base.
You know how I know it’s bullshit? Because you’re not giving it to everyone at once. Hold on, hold on. No I’m not being bitter about it. Let me explain.
About a year ago, Twitter said that they were going to revamp the platform doing multiple things.
- They would take away the character count for links, allowing users to post links without counting toward the 140-character limit.
- They would take away the character count for GIFs and pictures.
- They would take away the character count for mentions or hashtags.
Like I said, it’s been almost an entire year since Twitter notified its users that these changes would be taking place. Slowly but surely, they have been. Mentions, GIFs, and pictures no longer count toward the 140-character limit.
But what about everything else?
It still counts. In other words, they lied.
Sure it might be taking them a while. Hell, it took them long enough to get the mentions out of the count. I only noticed that happening recently. But I’ll be damned if they still count hashtags, make you “.@” to tweet directly to someone, and count links toward the final character count.
You know how you could give people more characters, Twitter? By following through with the promises you made a year ago. Then we’d have 140 link, mention, and hashtag free characters at our disposal.
140 characters was your thing, Twitter. It allowed users to exercise their conciseness, their brevity, and their wit.
But now you’ve gone and fucked it all up by doubling the count. I understand you’re trying to survive. You’ve been hurting a lot lately. But don’t give certain people more power than others just because you feel like it will help you in the end. It won’t.
You’re not failing because people don’t have enough space to express their ideas. You’re failing because you’ve become a hotbed for racists, nazis, and anti-semites all over the world. Work on that first. Then we can talk about an extra 140 characters.
If you’re thinking to yourself, “Well, I guess Reed’s not going to use Twitter anymore,” you’re wrong. I’ll continue to use it to gather news, get a cheap laugh every once in a while, and complain to corporations when I have a bad experience. But it won’t be the same.
It won’t be as fun.
It won’t be as Twitter.