Why Twitter would be right to expand to 10,000 characters – in 10,000 characters

Leigh Alexander, Jeff Jarvis, Jan 06, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

There are three levels to this article. On the surface is the entirely reasonable argument that 140 characters is just too short to be useful, and that Twitter's public nature makes sending a stream of messages to a large number of followers makes you a 'bad person'. I get that. Then there is the level making the case that this wouldn't help. "Twitter’s main problem is that it offers nothing in the way of user experience, provides no valuable way to isolate yourself from goons and has done nothing to ensure the safety of vulnerable users from harassers and creep campaigns." And ultimately, the third level of the post is found later in the article, where we learn that long posts would rapidly expand to just more "blah blah blah blah blah blah blah and that the brevity." Twitter's 140 character limit was originally derived from the length limits of SMSs (160 characters, minus 20 for the name of the person positing). The company should explore why it thought that model was important, and ask itself why people are still using SMSs (or their competition) to send text messages today.

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