Short blog posts, journal entries, and random thoughts. Topics include a mix of personal and the world at large. 

Twitter has a new 280 character limit

I take off for work at 2pm on most days and it takes about a half hour to drive to campus on the other side of the city. Today as I am walking to the office from the parking lot, I come to find out that Twitter has finally increase its per-tweet character limit from 140 to 280. You know, some days you drive to work and subsequently the entire Twitter paradigm shifts seismically. 

Like most changes to our social media platforms of choice, it's going to take some time to get used to the new character limit, and therefore to form a proper opinion. At first blush, the jump to 280 seem rather overboard (why not 200 for a try first?), one where Twitter users in Asia can exploit to the maximum. It was already unfair that a singular Chinese or Korean word counts as one character on the platform, meaning while it takes six characters worth to tweet out 'father' in English, in Chinese all it takes it one: '父'. With this new 280 limit, I can type an entire Korean essay in one tweet.

Mark Twain had to apologize for the lack of brevity in his letters; of course it's immensely difficult to truncate and be precise in the written word. It's infinitely easier to simply keep writing as the thoughts flow from the mind to the fingers. Twitter's now retired 140 character limit was a great motivator to be concise with what we wanted to convey. Yes, threaded replies have largely made that motivation irrelevant, but for singular tweets the virtue holds true. With the new 280 limit, I'm not sure it does anymore.

I attempted a few tweets after the change and it's as if there's no character limit at all: I've been so conditioned to 140 that I currently can't fathom needing to fully utilize the 280 potential. Time to tell, for sure.