280 Characters is Bad, but it’s the Users That Will Kill Twitter

Twitter is losing its character while gaining 140. Twitter has a problem with Nazis and the President of the United States and instead it chose to double its character limit in a move few really wanted. Rightfully, users are angry.

Many, however, went too far. A trend of people claiming they will not read tweets over 140 characters long has become an immature form of resistance that does even more damage to the platform. Not only may these users miss out on good tweets by intelligent people (probably, therefore, not mine), but users wanting more attention will simply stop tweeting. Worse, Twitterrific, a 3rd party client which was once the sole way I interacted with the platform, encourages this behaviour by allowing users to mute tweets over 140 characters.

Of course, many longer Tweets in the last few days have lost their sense of brevity. Sometimes this is a good thing, as arguments lose ambiguity and tech support is easier to understand, but at other times long posts appear lazy. It is understandable—if still concerning—that users skip them out of time constraints, but not out of some closed-minded principle.

Twitter was never a blogging platform, it was for sharing links, ideas, and your opinion in short bursts. It was for public figures to publicise, people to network, and sports fans to joke. Twitter endangers all of these people’s enjoyment of their service. But users must adapt. Twitter won’t change their mind.

If nobody bought phones without headphone jacks, in ten years nobody would have a smartphone. If people ignore Tweets over 280 characters, in ten years nobody will use Twitter. And unfortunately, there’s no viable alternative.

This is a platform caked in controversy. It has dug its own grave. But I believe that we as users need to be part of the solution, not the ones who pull the trigger.