No no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no no.

I cannot put it in 280 characters more plainly than that.

Giving every single Twitter user 280 characters to blather on is a big mistake, and like many, I blame millennials for this change.

Twitter was created by Gen X-er Jack Dorsey, who's actually about to celebrate his 41st birthday. As often the children of Baby Boomers, Generation X-ers still appreciate something about scarcity and compromise. Dorsey exemplified this by building Twitter on the incredibly limited backbone of SMS and figured out how to make it work within the 160-character limit, which is how we ended up with that precious 140 characters. Then Twitter turned each tweet into a virtual Matryoshka doll, nesting more and more stuff — photos, Twitter handles, and video — inside the same 140-character space. It was quite a trick.

But that wasn’t enough for the millennials who’ve been spoiled by Apple iMessage and its unlimited character counts, nested media, emojis, doodles and now animojis. Do you really believe we’d be staring at 280-character tweets today if we couldn’t send floating birthday balloons in iOS 11?

No, no we would not.

What proponents of the newly expanded character count fail to realize is what we’ll lose with all that extra character space.

In Shakespeare’s Hamlet Polonius famously says:

“since brevity is the soul of wit,

And tediousness the limbs and outward flourishes,

I will be brief: your noble son is mad.”

Polonius’s point, in this tight 103-character passage, is that brevity equals clarity. It’s a sharp edge that we’ll surely lose as people realize they have more space. More characters will equal more words, not deeper meaning or value.

“Your noble son is mad,” will become:

“Anon, dear sir, your son suffers the blight of infirmity, a malady that triggers displeasure in the soul and disharmony of mind. He is, without question, a child adrift on the plains of human unrest. He cannot quiet his thoughts, nor his words, nor notions. He is irrevocably mad."

I’ve long said that Twitter made me a better writer. Coming up with pithy, meaningful 140-character tweets exercised a muscle I used too infrequently in my prose. Obviously, when I wrote for magazines (artifacts of glossy pages bound together and hand-delivered by the Post Office), I had word counts to follow. They were, though, extremely generous compared to your average tweets.

There were times over the last decade where I wished I had just one more tweet character, let alone another 140, but in those times, I usually took a deep breath and dove back into my tweet, hacking away at needless words and replacing “ands” with plus signs. There was always a way to get my point across in 140 characters. And if I failed, it was my failure, not the system’s.

New Twitter users will never know a world with such strict character limits and they will, inevitably, get sloppy. They will say too much, and say it poorly. My Twitter feed will become less scannable as huge blocks of text stand like totems among shorter, more pithy tweets.

The early days will be the worst, as everyone tries out the newly expanded character limit. I, too, will test the boundaries. But generating 280 characters for a simple idea will probably exhaust me, whisking me back to my college days when I would insert extra articles and adverbs simply to reach the required page count. I never felt good about that, any more than I will about twice the number of characters for half the amount of thought.

I know that, over time, 280-character Twitter will calm down as people come to their senses and realize they don’t have to Tweet nearly 300 characters every single time. Still, we can never go back.

Twitter’s sense of Gen X restraint will be gone, replaced by a Millennial desire to have more and have it now. Meanwhile, all we ever really wanted was the ability to edit Tweets.

Source : Mashable



Listen

Your e-mail address will not be published.
Required fields are marked*

  This is an error message