This is not a drill, folks. After 11 years, the wait is over. Twitter announced on Tuesday that it's expanding the tweet length limit from 140 characters to 280 characters. Imagine how many things you'll be able to say! For instance, you could tweet the previous three sentences, which fit in 280 characters.
The feature is apparently "only available to a small group right now," and it won't definitely be a permanent change that rolls out to everyone. Twitter plans to see how it works out for the initial users, and then decide whether to commit fully.
Product manager Aliza Rosen and software engineer Ikuhiro Ihara wrote on the Twitter blog, "We want every person around the world to easily express themselves on Twitter, so we're doing something new: we're going to try out a longer limit, 280 characters, in languages impacted by cramming (which is all except Japanese, Chinese, and Korean)."
Rosen and Ihara did reassure the hordes who are presumably outraged, as is the custom whenever Twitter tweaks anything: "Twitter is about brevity. It's what makes it such a great way to see what's happening. Tweets get right to the point with the information or thoughts that matter. That is something we will never change."
New York Times TV critic James Poniewozik pointed out, obliquely, that the practice of tweetstorming developed as a way for users to get around the character limitation:
The 280-character limit is a terrible idea. The whole beauty of Twitter is that it forces you to express your ideas concisely (1/47)-- James Poniewozik (@poniewozik) September 26, 2017
Same with tweeting screenshots of text. The change has been a long time coming. Being able to edit tweets, however, has yet to show up on the company's agenda.
280-character tweets will now average twice as many typos and GUESS WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT-- Casey Newton (@CaseyNewton) September 26, 2017
In the grand scheme of things, will expanding the character limit fix Twitter's problems and transform its fate as a company? Unlikely, unless it's an indication that Twitter is planning to develop its damn product at a normal rate. Maybe next they can appoint some board members who actually use Twitter.