Twitter is potentially doubling its character limit from 140 to 280, with the company announcing on Tuesday that it will let a small group of users test the feature before possibly rolling it out further.
In the interest of fairness, I will allow Twitter’s nonsense argument to go into this article. It apparently comes down to differences in languages, as explained by Aliza Rosen, product manager at Twitter:
For example, when I (Aliza) Tweet in English, I quickly run into the 140 character limit and have to edit my Tweet down so it fits. Sometimes, I have to remove a word that conveys an important meaning or emotion, or I don’t send my Tweet at all. But when Iku Tweets in Japanese, he doesn’t have the same problem. He finishes sharing his thought and still has room to spare. This is because in languages like Japanese, Korean, and Chinese you can convey about double the amount of information in one character as you can in many other languages, like English, Spanish, Portuguese, or French.
Here’s why I, a prolific Twitter user, do not like this change: As Rosen acknowledges, Twitter is about brevity. It is supposed to make you think about removing words to make your thoughts snappier and your messages more concise. In a world filled with way too much overly long writing, Twitter brings back word and character limits that force you to get to the point.
Just look at this monstrosity, which could have been half the size and conveyed the exact same point:
This is a small change, but a big move for us. 140 was an arbitrary choice based on the 160 character SMS limit. Proud of how thoughtful the team has been in solving a real problem people have when trying to tweet. And at the same time maintaining our brevity, speed, and essence! https://t.co/TuHj51MsTu— jack (@jack) September 26, 2017
If that doesn’t convince you, consider that President Donald Trump may soon have double the characters on Twitter.