It happened. Twitter made a change everybody (well, surely somebody) was asking for. No they didn’t ban all the fascists and Russian spies from the platform or rearrange the timeline back into chronological order. No. Instead, in November 2017, @Jack and co super-sized the word count available for a single tweet from 140 characters to 280.
Many sneered, saying this move went against Twitter’s entire raison d’etre as a micro-blogging site; but now the dust has settled, I thought I’d pick out a few key benefits from this must maligned change:
More space for more links
Posting more than one link in a regular 140 character tweet reduced word count considerably, making it much harder to explain each link’s content. With 280 characters at your disposal, it’s a lot easier to make single messages clear and multi-faceted – a welcome improvement!
Fewer (or at least shorter) threads
We’ve all seen a tweet that ends with (1/94) and wondered if it’s really worth scrolling through every single sentence of the thread. With longer tweets you can now see more of that first tweet, so the pressure on a thread’s introduction to be clickworthy and eye-catching is slightly reduced. I’ve even seen fewer screengrabbed pictures of people’s iPhone notes to artificially extend their word count, which I think it’s fair to say, were an absolute abomination.
No more excuses for sloppy communication
Everyone’s been caught in the jam of having to either lose vital words from a tweet or be reduced to the indignity of 90s txt spk. Well that particular problem is officially over – but please remember, no one wants to read War and Peace on their lunch break – keep it sharp.
Rudimentary formatting and space for creativity
More space to play with means tweets have started to look visually different and distinct from one another. Paragraph breaks and clever use of uppercase and lowercase have turned some tweets into effective little mini-articles. The creative way that users have used this additional space has been one of the best parts of this new update. Who knows, a future update might give us the ability to bolden and underline…
The President of the United States finally has enough space to express himself adequately and has proven himself a true international statesman and intellectual
Ok this hasn’t happened yet, but we can only hope…!