There was an almighty twittering in the social media dovecote this week when Twitter rolled out its new #280characters – doubling its previous limit of 140. According to JK Rowling: “Twitter’s destroyed its USP. The whole point, for me, was how inventive people could be within that concise framework.”
My own reaction was similar. I’ve always seen the strict character limit as the social media equivalent of the haiku. The very constraints were what liberated our elegant creativity. The pleasure of honing our wit down to netsuke proportions has now vanished. I was one of those Twitter users who was given 280 characters ahead of the crowd – there was no explanation, but maybe Twitter spotted that I’m a novelist and assumed I would enjoy twice as much space to elaborate on the flat white I’m about to drink.
Twitter’s destroyed its USP. The whole point, for me, was how inventive people could be within that concise framework. #Twitter280characters— J.K. Rowling (@jk_rowling) November 8, 2017
It remains possible that I will be able to retrain my brain to enjoy this new Twitter experience, but it goes against my professional training. This may sound like a strange claim for a novelist – given that I generally require 100,000 words to express myself fully. But I can categorically say that if I were granted 200,000 words by an indulgent publisher, the resulting novel would not be twice as good.
#280charcters Now I have no clue what to write.