So why oh why is Twitter doing #280?

So why oh why is Twitter doing #280?
From TechCrunch - September 27, 2017

Late yesterday Twitter announced the unthinkable for time-pressed journalists everywhere by revealing it is testing doubling the character length of tweets.

Farewell sweet brevity of 140chars. Hello pointless extra blah-blah-blah #280.

But why oh why is Twitter doing this?

In all markets, when people dont have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and actually have some to spare, we see more people tweeting, wrote product manager, Aliza Rosen, in a rather wordy blog post explainerabout the movewhich even included a graph!

Though not a graph of Twitters user growth not growing.

(Here, I fixed Rosens explanation to fit it in far fewer characters: Were trying to fix ourgrowth problem.)

While Rosen talked about Twitter wanting every person around the world to easily express themselves on Twitter, there was no specific discussion about how Twitters 140 constraint might be exacerbating problematic speech in the public domain.

By, for example, turning nuanced discussion into polarized arguments and irascible abuse. Or shouty crap as a colleague more concisely put it.

(Also not in Rosens post: Any graphs detailingTwitters problem with abusive behavior on its platform.)

But even if Twitter didnt want to explicitly discuss the problem of trolls and bullies on its platform, it may be hoping the expansion to 280 characters encourages people to tweet less, well, shouty crap.

Which is indeed a possibility. Though there is also the flip-side possibility thatfor example the current president of the U.S. will just get double the amount of newsworthy tweet space with which to threaten nuclear annihilation.

Or, to put it another way

Whether Trump, with 280 characters locked and loaded, will suddenly lose the urge to tweet at Rocket Boy (10chars)and instead feel moved to address the Chairman of the Workers Party of Korea and supreme leader of the Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea (103chars) does seem rather unlikely though.

Tech tweets on #280


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