Recently, I’ve seen a lot of articles and headlines reading things like “For Twitter to survive, they need to abolish the character limit.” Now I haven’t been in the world of tech as long as these journalists have, and I’m no expert on the metrics of networks like Facebook versus Twitter in relation to their character limits, but I firmly believe they should keep the limit, and here’s why.
When Twitter was founded in 2006, it’s key features and selling points were its brevity of content, ability to get news out quickly, and its ability in allowing people to communicate ideas efficiently. The 140 character limit forces us to think about our words and think about what we want to say, only including the most important parts. Even in my AP US History class, we used a tweet as an example of our short answer responses. We were told to pretend we were tweeting because in doing so, we were forced only include the most important parts in the most efficient way possible.
You can look at other social networks and you are able to easily identify why Twitter is so attractive to millions of people. I don’t use Facebook anymore for the sole reason that I don’t appreciate having to scroll through a plethora of posts that are practically essays, discussing issues that only cause anger, tension, and frustration. We’ve all seen those posts with those people. Your crazy uncle may be ranting about the right to own his 200 AK-47s, or pictures of Donald Trump captioned with something insightful he said (I couldn’t find any examples).
Twitter doesn’t have the same issue. People have 140 characters to make their point. There’s no room to attack people personally or go on and on about the same topic never introducing any more valuable points or ideas.
Not only does it allow for an absence of repeating points and redundant rants, but Twitter allows the media to quickly tweet updates and breaking news efficiently. Like my previous argument, no one is going to want to read an entire news article. Tweeting something brief allows people to grasp the idea and move on through the rest of their feed.
Abolishing the 140 character limit will only turn Twitter into Facebook, or help us, Google+. To maintain its identity, and keep its user base of celebrities, teens, and adults, it needs to maintain its identity and features that keep it unique. There’s a reason teenagers don’t use Facebook anymore. Don’t let Twitter fall into the same trap.