Twitter is moving from 140 characters to 280 characters. Look, I think that ultimately this will be fine. And their justification
in this regard is fine:
We see that a small percent of Tweets sent in Japanese have 140 characters (only 0.4%). But in English, a much higher percentage of Tweets have 140 characters (9%). Most Japanese Tweets are 15 characters while most English Tweets are 34. Our research shows us that the character limit is a major cause of frustration for people Tweeting in English, but it is not for those Tweeting in Japanese. Also, in all markets, when people don’t have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and actually have some to spare, we see more people Tweeting – which is awesome!
That said, the higher-level justification – that 140 characters was arbitrary, therefore we’re going to thoughtfully double it to 280 characters is ridiculous. 280 IS JUST AS ARBITRARY AS 140!!! And actually, dually so because you had a chance to make it not arbitrary – why not, say, 500 characters? A nice, round number, at least…
If they’re going to do this, I would rather see something like 10K (or unlimited) characters. And then simply snip the tweet down to 140 characters for the feed (either manually or automatic). In other words, long text would be just another payload. Just like images or GIFs or what not.
My main concern with all this is scan-ability. I think it’s unheralded, but the fact that you can open Twitter and quickly read dozens of items is awesome. On what other service can you do this? Maybe Drudge Report? Maybe that’s why it also works! For some people!
There’s also something to say about brevity being beauty. And it leading to more creativity
. Twitter is playing a dangerous game here…