1. 31
  1.  

  2. 18

    I feel the same way. I’ll often compose a tweet, spend a minute or two trying to rephrase it to fit in 140 chars, and then give up when I realize it’s lost its meaning in “translation”.

    Customers tweet at my company account from time to time asking questions but usually all I can do is reply “send us a detailed e-mail and we’ll get back to you” because it’s such a useless platform for dialog. It’s mostly just a platform for shouting things and slacktivism these days.

    I still don’t get why Twitter is holding onto the 140 character limit, making the vast majority of its users deal with a limitation imposed by an outdated delivery mechanism that I would guess a very small minority of its users still use.

    Twitter’s API could even support long tweets while still keeping backwards compatibility. Make the first ~130 characters the actual tweet, and stuff the rest of the text in an entity. Old clients just show the first ~130 chars but with some kind of indication that it’s truncated, but Twitter’s website and newer clients with entity support strip out that indication, load the rest of the text in the entity, and display it all together as one long tweet.

    1. 11

      It’s mostly just a platform for shouting things and slacktivism these days.

      To be fair, it’s pretty good for jokes too.

      Not much else though.

      1. 1

        To be fair, it’s pretty good for jokes too.

        All kidding aside, this is 99% of what I use twitter for nowadays: a cheap laugh when I have 30 seconds of downtime.

      2. 5

        Given the way Twitter have embraced and promoted tweets with embedded images, there really doesn’t seem to be as much argument for the 140 character limit as there was.

        1. 7

          Especially now that people are filling tweets with embedded images of… lines of text.

        2. 3

          I’ve noticed people tweeting links to gists on the rise, which does seem like a stupid workaround (in the sense of something that Twitter could absolutely do automatically).

          1. 2

            Or tweeting links to blog posts, which makes Twitter into a kind of RSS aggregator, really.

          2. 3

            I like to use it as a public status update or a way to quickly thank people for generous things they might have done e.g. contributions to libs etc.

          3. 4

            People who don’t like you - regardless of whether you are right or wrong in what you say - will find a way to make you “pay” for it, regardless of the medium involved. Twitter makes is easier to use tagline attacks because you have to be brief in counteracting them. And most of the times in the world of technical achievements, the real explanation is never brief or easy. This is one of the very nasty things I dislike about Twitter but I think that we can manage.

            1. 5

              It’s the combination of being unable to convey the tone of your message with the brevity that removes all possibility of explaining the nuances or the context.

              1. 3

                I fully agree with you on this; and this is why twitter can be very dangerous. In his case, I think that they are overly unfair to him.

            2. 4

              I think one of the biggest problems with Twitter is the asymmetric view of conversations that different people are exposed to, depending on who they’re following.

              Say Alice and Bob are two Twitter users. Bob has a big following in the Twitter-verse, while Alice is less popular. If Bob makes a false claim about Alice, Alice can reply, but her tweet won’t end up in Bobs' followers' streams. Without that context, the many passive readers of Bob’s stream take his remark at face value, without a real opportunity for Alice to make a rebuttal. Furthermore, Alice may be exposed to attacks/harassment at the hands of Bob’s large follower base, overwhelming her ability to respond.

              This happens all the time on Twitter. It fundamentally breaks any conversation on controversial subjects, encouraging each side to stick to their own “team” rather than taking in opposing views.