If brevity is the soul of wit, Twitter users spent the last 24 hours signing contracts with the devil. Everyone has 280 characters to spend on each tweet, and Twitter has grown from a micro-blogging experience to a world of etiquette failures.

Once we passed the initial joke "I can tweet 280 characters!" posts, Twitter users, mad with power, decided that now was the time to tweet at their normal volume but with twice the content, as if not using their extra 140 characters would lead to Jack Dorsey making a budgetary change against them. 

Watching the Twitter feed become a bloated Tumblr-esque blog-roll of people's extra-long, pained thoughts has made me miss the days of the humble tweet-storm, as people at least realized how silly it was to make multiple tweets string together. Everybody has decided that now is the time to have extra-long thoughts about everything. 

And I, as a supposed veteran of the communications industry, want to give you some advice about how to handle the new 280 character limit.

Try To Stick To Below 170 Characters - If Not Below 140 

The original character limit certainly had its restraints, but recent events have proven that it's in fact a really good thing that there was one. Understand how big 280 characters is - to give you some context, the entirety of the first paragraph of this article was only 245. Try and focus on making sentence-long tweets, perhaps only straying 30 characters (so maybe a few words) over your normal tweets. 

Avoid Bullet Points 

It's a strange new trend, but for some reason everybody has moved into making bullet-pointed lists on Twitter now. This seemed like a good idea at the time - rather than a block-paragraph or run-on sentence, you can make a few key points! - it actually stretches the tweet out to take up even more of a Twitter feed. This is particularly noticeable on Tweetdeck, where people's gigantic bulleted lists take up what feels like three of the older tweets. Perhaps I'm being dramatic.

Links Still Don't Count Toward Your Character Limit.

This means that your extremely long tweet with an extremely long link is going to be even longer

Don't Do Long Quote Tweets

I have four times seen the most abominable tweet of them all - a 240-280 character tweet that quotes another, longer tweet. On Tweetdeck this takes up a quarter of a column in some cases, even on a high-resolution screen, your long-form commentary on someone's long-form tweet is now horrifically long.

Remember Why You're On Twitter

I don't know about you, but I've stuck to Twitter because it's short, sharp points (or silly jokes) about many different subjects, not a somewhat more liquid and personal version of the comments section of a website. If you want to turn Twitter into a place where you're going to see 280-character after 280-character posts, then you're turning it into a place that devolves into a monstrous dirge of thinkpieces.

Please don't destroy Twitter.

Published on: Nov 8, 2017