Friday, 10 November 2017

140 to 280

I've been (slowly) working on a social media themed blog post for about two months now, but unbelievably it's still not finished. In the mean time though I have some breaking news from Twitterland to blog about that simply cannot wait.

The powers that be have decided, following a trial, to double the character allowance for each tweet (which for the benefit on non-Twitterers is basically a post) from 140 to a whopping 280!  A big change. A big change of the fundamental basics of Twitter.

I've been on Twitter for over five years now, and have always absolutely loved it. It's such a great place for us birders and naturalists to network, share our experiences, help others, etc, which is why more and more birders are signing up by the day. With all this networking and infinite topics to discuss surely increasing the amount we can write is a big plus? Well no not in my eyes...

Most birders have their own blogs, then there's Facebook, Instagram, and other social media platforms that let users write what they want in as many words as they want. I've always found Twitter to be refreshingly brief, and because of this easy to digest. 140 characters isn't much, but it's enough to gauge things like excitement levels and personality, in quite a unique way. This is what made Twitter different.

As I almost solely use my phone to access Twitter it is bad news for my thumb, a lot more scrolling will be required. These screen shots from my phone depict my problem...

 'Old' Twitter (excuse some of the content it's a bit off-topic!):

'New' Twitter:

I've gone from five tweets in view to one and a half. That makes Twitter far less user friendly in my books.

With any social media, regardless of how strict you are about who you follow, there is always going to be drivel. At least with Twitter if drivel was there, there was only 140 characters of it. I am already shuddering at the prospect of folk having a hefty 280 characters to moan about the usual hot topics such as suppression, bird ringing, photographers flushing or baiting rare birds, etc... Yawn.

There is one benefit I can think of. The number of times I've wanted to list what birds I've seen, but end up having to miss half of them out just so they fit in the tweet. Mind you, strangely there was an element of this I got a little pleasure out of. Tell me did anyone else feel this? You rapidly write out a tweet excitedly narrating a birding event, you hit send but nothing happens -  oh no ten characters too many! It then takes five minutes to work out which are the best ten letters/numbers/punctuation/spaces to lose so that it falls below that magic 140 but still makes sense. I miss this already.

So taking this all in to this account, I am going to start a movement. Let's get #thanksfor280butIonlyneed140 trending! Yes Twitter, you can keep those extra 140 characters, I will only be needing the 140 I have always had*.

*unless a mega is involved


  1. Completely agree, Steve.

    The Twitter app on my phone has no truck with such nonsense and just lops the bottom of the post off if it doesn't fit, replacing it with a web link to read the rest. Which can be great, and can be frustrating.

    1. Cheers Rob, glad you agree! Of course I will still be using Twitter, and I don't know maybe we will all get used to it? But I haven't yet that's for sure.

      Take care, Steve.