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280 Characters?!

Either saying very little or saying a lot in a small amount of space has been Twitter’s reason for being since its creation. Since the limit on characters per tweet has been recently increased from 140 to 280, reactions were– unexpectedly, in my opinion– mixed. 140 characters forced users to confine their thoughts and opinions to a small space, which could have been an interesting linguistic challenge, or an exercise in cutting out unnecessary words. However, many people, myself included, merely lengthened their tweets into threads, responding to their tweets repeatedly in order to draw out their internet monologue.

I’d like to posit that 280 characters is a design improvement for Twitter. With longer tweets, users have more room to present their thoughts without losing them in . You lose the challenge of trying to say a lot in very little space, but users don’t have to jump through hoops (or at least, jump through fewer hoops) in order to read in full what someone has to say. A number of people (notably, writers) are up in arms about the expansion as a result of losing that challenge. Is it really a loss if nobody was really trying to confine their thoughts to 140 characters in the first place?



  1. Hoangnhat Nguyen wrote:

    Hi Abigail. Thank you for your post. I don’t use twitter, but I did hear about it. It seems like twitter might be a blog. For sharing ideas and thoughts for others to use. Thanks again for your post.

    Friday, November 10, 2017 at 5:25 pm | Permalink
  2. Nicole Judge wrote:

    I remember feeling so limited when I first started using twitter. I occasionally had to abbreviate or sacrifice a word in order to get my point across. I was happy they finally realized we needed more characters to get our points across.

    Friday, November 10, 2017 at 6:13 pm | Permalink