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Culture & Religion

Why Twitter Should Double Its Character Limit

Twitter was conceived as a platform for people to give status updates about themselves, but how we use the medium has changed. Twitter should respond by allowing 280 characters. 

What’s the Latest Development?

Twitter is five years old this month. Originally based on the idea of central dispatch systems for taxis and delivery trucks, Twitter was originally limited to 140 characters because when its infrastructure was being built around a mobile phone network, an SMS was limited to that number of characters. That was fine for status updates, which is how its creator Jack Dorsey imagined the site, i.e. ‘I’m going for a shower,’ or ‘Inviting friends for dinner,’ etc. But today we use Twitter to conduct political discussions which would be improved by having more space to write. 

What’s the Big Idea?

Author Farhad Manjoo thinks Twitter’s current limit of 140 characters only serves to constrain expression. Answering those who say concise Tweets force creativity, like writing a haiku, Manjoo says that no everyone is a poet and that he is tired of racking his brain for ever-smaller words just to get across a straightforward point. Besides, there are already a number of hacks that exist to circumvent Twitter’s character limit. The market’s realization of Twitter’s current limitations may be inspiration enough for the company to make a change. 


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