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Recode’s reactions to Twitter’s new, longer tweets: ‘I don’t have time to read your book’

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Twitter is testing longer tweets, which means some users now get 280 characters to say whatever is on their mind, instead of the 140 characters Twitter is traditionally known for.

If there’s one thing we know about Twitter, it’s that users love to hate whatever changes the company makes to the product. And this is a big change for Twitter, so we imagine that a lot of people will have a lot of thoughts about longer tweets.

Recode is full of passionate Twitter users with a lot of thoughts about most everything. So we asked our staff to weigh in on the update. The only rule: Supporters of the new character limit could tell us why they liked it in 280 characters; opponents of the change had to limit their arguments to the traditional 140-character limit.

Here’s where Recoders fall.


Dan Frommer, Editor in Chief

Love it. The rise of the “thread” has proven that Twitter is a great place to post longer ideas without linking out. But more than anything, it shows Twitter is experimenting with formats — something that is many years overdue. Twitter’s value is its network, not a hard 140 limit.

Peter Kafka, Senior Editor, Media

Sounds great!

But let’s not give it away for free: Make users earn additional characters. They could do so by doing good, or donating money, or by muting Donald Trump.

Kurt Wagner, Senior Editor, Social Media

This is long overdue. My only issue: Why stop at 280? In a world where news breaks on Twitter every single day, we shouldn’t be forcing people to cut important context from a tweet just to meet an unnecessary limit. I’m also sick of piecing together President Trump’s tweetstorms.

Johana Bhuiyan, Senior Editor, Transportation

1/2 I’m going to be that guy. The change is fine, but this is a dumb thing to focus on right now. Character limit is a menial thing that does nothing to address the important issues the current iteration of Twitter is facing, like how to police hate speech

2/2 If Twitter fully realized its role as the platform of choice for the president, news orgs and activists, it would ask itself: Do we provide the tools to help disseminate/elevate important info? Then we might see updates/terms that are useful.

Kara Swisher, Executive Editor

Good. God. Donald. Trump. Gets. 280. Characters #wearedoomed #SAD.

Edmund Lee, Managing Editor

You don’t need 280. There’s always another tweet coming. Shorter is better.

Eric Johnson, Producer, Recode Radio

The current character limit is Twitter’s best feature. It’s perfect for jokes and forces people to write a bit more carefully. 280 is too ma

Teddy Schleifer, Senior Editor, Finance and Influence

Twitter forces people to be punchy. No BS, no hedging, no vacuous social graces. More characters means less candor and more obfuscation.

Meghann Farnsworth, Engagement Editor

PLEASE DON’T DO THIS, TWITTER. MAKE LINKS NOT COUNT AGAINST A WORD COUNT RATHER THAN GIVING IN TO PEOPLE WHO CANNOT EDIT THEMSELVES. PLEASE.

Rani Molla, Data Editor

A tweet is a little bit of poetry — a haiku but in 140 characters. The length makes you get to the point. I don’t have time to read your book.

Tony Romm, Senior Editor, Policy and Politics

I hate everything, including this. But at least I can analyze tech policy & complain about dating now in a single tweet. Also tip @techmeme.


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