Bri Manning

Twitter Changes

November 10, 2017

Twitter moved to give 280 characters to everyone this week. I promptly used it constructively.

What’s remarkable in all of this is just the question “why?” 140 characters was originally a restriction based on needing 20 characters of metadata in a 160 text message. As smart phones came about and people consumed Twitter in a variety of ways, they kept the limit. Then they started pushing against it with automatically shortening links, then not counting usernames against the count, and now moving to 280 characters. Clearly people want to be able to post more, but that’s the case with any service. The value-add of Twitter was that it forced conciseness and brevity.

Amidst all of this is why even use Twitter at all anymore? Given the abuse they don’t seem to fight, that they allow themselves to be gamed and allow rampant use of bots, is there even a reason to use Twitter anymore? Is the experience even worth it? There are plenty of reasons to give up on Twitter.

What Twitter perpetuates is echo chambers of following people you like and agree with. Maybe you get some news in there, but it’s slanted because your feed is slanted because you follow people who are like you and believe things like you. How much of the news on it is even news?