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viewpoint

Twitter should go back to 140 characters

| Monday, November 13, 2017

Twitter recently relaxed the character restriction on its website, doubling the number of characters a user can submit per tweet from 140 to 280. The change has elicited a heated debate about the purpose of the social media platform.

Authors J.K. Rowling and Stephen King were among the higher profile critics of the change, believing the old limit forced users to be creative and witty with their word choice. The limit was central to what set Twitter apart from the rest of social media as a home for immediate news dissemination and hard-hitting one-liners.

Simply put, increasing the character count limit on Twitter is like if Snapchat saved every photo you sent.

Or like if Facebook didn’t allow you to see your friends’ profiles.

Or like if your parents promise you a dog for Christmas but then they skip every Christmas after making that promise, rendering the promise meaningless and leaving you without a dog.

Or like if bitcoin could be easily hacked and stolen.

Or like if you buy two tickets to Paris, one for you and one for your imaginary friend, Dave. But it turns out you bought tickets to the wrong Paris: Paris, Texas, population 25,000 on the Texas-Oklahoma border. When you land in Paris, your parents are waiting for you, which is surprising because you are from Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada, and your parents disowned you 15 years prior in response to an “egregious Christmas request.” They happily greet Dave but manage to overlook the fact that it is your 19th birthday. A simple “Hello, son” or “Here, take this orange,” would have sufficed but no, nothing. It hurts.

Or like if you stage an intervention for a friend, and it’s going well. You get Dave to promise to cut back on the drinks and the smoking. Dave agrees to go to A.A., spend more time outside, join a gym, get a job. Going great. Then Nick comes in, and — in typical Nick fashion — he has to play devil’s advocate. He congratulates Dave on his progress, but then blurts out, “Man, I’m going to miss the old you. You were really the life of the party.” Dave immediately leaves the dining room and relapses.

Or like if you took a nap instead of going for that run you promised yourself that you’d take.

Or like if you are walking down the street, because people do that, and it got really cold all of a sudden. You remember the first time you thought about how colors taste. Green is an odd one, I can tell you that. The smell of gasoline fills the air. I think it’s because you were in the garage filling up the lawnmower for your older sister that day — the day when you thought too much about colors. But back to your walk, I think. It was really warm that day, and your neighbor, Mr. Moltisanti, a character with a strong moral compass, asked you why you were wearing such a heavy coat on such a warm day. You ignored him.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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About R.J. Stempak

R.J. Stempak is a sophomore computer science major who enjoys basketball.

Contact R.J.