While I was scrolling through tweets the other day, a thought struck me. Pretty damn hard.
There are children who'll grow up having never seen or experienced 140-character Twitter.
Does... does that sound a bit sad, for that to be a deep realisation to me? It makes me feel a little sad. Like knowing there are adults out there (god, they're adults by now) who've never used a landline, or know how a dial-up modem sounds.
As much as this pains me to admit, I think I'm starting to get old.
I like having a 280-character limit now, but I'd like to think I rarely needed it before. I managed fine, and so did mostly everyone else. I've seen a few copywriters get annoyed at the change for that very reason. Saying things like 'having only 140 characters to work with made people better writers, it taught them to reword and be more concise' and such.
And I don't disagree! The art of cramming your message into a restricted space unbroken is something to be admired. Twitter's shorter character limit helped many of us to hone our social media copy skills.
Ready for the 'but'? You know I'm building up to one here.
BUT. Obviously, as you can see from me gleaning several hundred words out of a thought, sometimes there's more to be said. There've been times when the space for an extra word or 2 wouldn't have gone amiss. That's likely why Twitter started threading tweets together, as well.
This is a similar move. Doubling the character limit is going to help many accounts communicate more effectively. You'd think that goes against what the other writers are saying, but weirdly this change makes sense for the copywriting world.
We're moving from economy of space to efficiency of delivery. I've already been using the new limit at work, mostly to explain things to customers. The ability to say more in fewer separate tweets is undeniably an advantage. It saves both parties some time.
"What about people saying things for the sake of saying them, Kady?" (The irony.)
It was inevitable that there'd be users who took gleeful advantage of the new limit. Let's not deny them their fun, even if the 'good' tweets get lost in the mix for a while. It's a new way to get creative with tweeting, after all. Swiping past that long tweet that spells out 'cookie' in cookie emojis is only a couple of seconds out of your day.
I think that, for proper, better conversations, the 280-character limit's going to turn out good. And I'm looking forward to those conversations becoming more flowing and natural, not clipped, terse statements hacked down to fit.
There's nothing stopping people from sticking with 140 for the rest of their lives, if they choose. Except for maybe that the 'remaining characters' countdown is gone. Damn it.