Twitter’s 140-character limit has long been a curse to many, though most agree that the forced brevity is a blessing in disguise, reducing the amount of unnecessary noise on an already clogged Internet. The folks at Twitter don’t seem to agree, as talks about increasing the limit or finding ways around it have been going on for some time now. We’ll today those talks have resulted in a new 280-character limit – for some.

Part of what spurred this doubling of the typical character limit was observing how tweeters fare when using different languages. Certain languages – specifically Japanese, Chinese, and Korean – can convey more information per character, so keeping your thoughts within the character limit when using these languages is simply easier to do. So the new character limit is only being offered in languages other than the three above. It’s to even the playing field, so-to-speak.

The problem is Twitter isn’t a competition. Nobody needs a more relaxed character limit, because Twitter was born as a micro-blogging social network. The firm limit is what keeps it unique, compelling, and for those of us who enjoying writing, a fun challenge. Nevermind the fact that if you have more to say, you can simply reply to yourself and a create a “thread,” a fairly recent phenomenon on the site. We didn’t need this from Twitter, and the frustrating thing is that there are things that we do need.

We need better policing. We need less harassment. The Internet is known as a bastion for anonymous anger and Twitter is the epicenter of that. The Twitter egg, the default avatar for new accounts, became a symbol of toxicity due to the sheet number of people creating throwaway accounts for the sole purpose of harassing others before making a quick getaway. Twitter certainly didn’t encourage this, but its lax enforcement of its already flawed rules let it spread like the plague. So what was their response after they finally decided to do something? They changed the default avatar.


And now “select” users can unleash 280-character tweets, which means two things: Twitter has been hard at work fixing what isn’t broken and letting what is broken fall further into disarray, and eventually the toxic users could have an extra 140 characters to spew their vile garbage.

 

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