I’m an avid Twitter user, I’ll happily admit. 140 characters is a fun limitation in my mind; it’s a challenge that I believe has helped to make me a more concise writer. I’ve been a member of the micro-blogging service since 2007, making me a fairly early adopter. I’ve seen the site go through plenty of changes, from introducing picture hosting through adding the option to make miniature polls in our posts.
The most recent change sure has gotten a lot of people riled up. Twitter has long (maybe always?) had a Favorite feature, where a user could “fav” a tweet they liked by clicking on a star icon, thus saving it forever for later reference as well as letting the author know it was liked or appreciated.
Now, perhaps in an effort to be more intuitive and Facebook-like, Twitter has changed its Favorite star to a “Like” heart-shaped icon. And boy has that ever upset some people (not to mention threated some fragile American masculinity – but that is another angry feminist blog post for another day). Sorry for the coarse language, but some grown men are awfully freaked out by little digital hearts!
Lately, Twitter has been working to expand its large (but certainly not Facebook-level-large) user base from the millions to the billions, and trying a lot of – dare I say – gimmicky ways to do that. Adding video and gif hosting as well as polls and emoji support have been past pitches for customers. I don’t have problems with these changes, myself, but some of them do make me shake my head a little.
There’s one change that I could never support and which might cause me to leave the service: the requisite 140-character limit on each post. That’s what has always made Twitter unique in a world of blogging services and social media networks. If they change that quirk, I feel they would lose their identity utterly. They’d also finally cross the line and cause me to make some angry tweets – and that takes a lot.
I’m keeping my fingers crossed that they never change their low character limit and stick with what makes them special. After all, aren’t we taught to embrace what makes us different and see it as a good quality?