On September 26, Twitter decided that a select group of users would have the ability to publish tweets up to 280 characters long (double the standard 140). As soon as the news was out that Twitter made character length changes, the Twitter-verse almost broke as millions of users tweeted their confusion, rage, and sarcasm towards the new update.
Even though Twitter hasn’t had a lot of success in 2017, there are still millions of daily active users and many of their responses to the experiment were similar: Twitter made character length changes, but why? In addition to the root question, there were more questions: who was selected to be able to tweet 280 characters and why were they selected? A (seemingly) random batch of professional sports teams, journalists, bloggers and everyday men and women were trusted with the freedom of 280 characters with no explanation for why they were selected and the masses vocalized their confusion on Twitter.
Many on Twitter felt that adding this feature would destroy the entire point of Twitter’s existence. Which, to some, is being able to hold a witty debate within the confines of 140 characters (brevity is the soul of wit). This could change the course of Twitter debate. It would shape the social network into something more akin to Facebook. Longer character length means more “rant” posts, which take up obnoxious amounts of room on the timeline. Twitter sets itself apart by limiting its users copy and abandoning that notion could be harmful.
Some were clearly angry. The majority took to Twitter to express their disdain towards the update in the form of sarcasm. A popular stance on Twitter, many professional sports teams such as the Mariners and the Braves voiced their opinions in a satirical fashion. Similarly, TV host, Ellen DeGeneres had some fun on her personal account. Light sarcasm is an easy way to soften the blow while still delivering a message of disapproval. Many personal and business brands found success delivering their message in this manner.
Twitter should let the public know soon if the changes are permanent. If my research is any indication, I would assume this is nothing but a temporary experiment. Twitter has an advantage in that whenever it makes an update it gets prompt feedback from its user base. In this case, the response was primarily negative. Ideally, it will prompt the volatile social network to change its course to the right direction.