I Hate the New 280-Character Twitter

Susan Wright noted that Twitter has now granted its users 280 characters. There are no words to explain how awful this is.

As Exhibit A, I present to you this:


That’s four full lines of presidential gobbledygook. And he still had 65 characters to spare!

My reaction to that was . . . succinct:

I know it was succinct because it was 140 characters or fewer. (122, to be exact.)

There is no question that some thoughts can be presented only in long-form writing. Twitter is not the vehicle for all expression. I get it.

But I have found that there is a discipline involved in saying something in 140 characters. The editing process can tighten your writing.

I agree with Charles Murray, who says:

Years of brutally editing my thoughts into 140 characters has indeed taught me a sort of discipline. A habit of cutting unnecessary words.


That habit doesn’t always extend to my long-form writing, nor should it. But it’s second-nature on Twitter now, and informs my longer prose.

Developing the habit of forcing some of your writing to be punchy and concise is a good thing, not a bad thing. 280 characters is madness.

And, for what it’s worth, every paragraph in this post is 140 characters or less. I rewrote some of them to get them under the limit.

Isn’t that better than reading the now-lengthier spew of garbage we’re going to see daily from Trump? And the answer is yes. Yes, it is.



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