Why Nov 7 was a sad day

“Twitter officially expands its character count to 280 starting today”  Techcrunch

“Twitter is rolling out 280-character tweets around the world” The Verge

“Twitter’s 280-character limit comes to the masses” Engadget

“Twitter introduces 280 characters to all users”  The Independent

Although not one of those who “howled” in protest, I was saddened that Twitter executives expanded the service to allow 280 character tweets.

As a long-time tweeter (or “twit-r” as a friend suggested), I tested Twitter in 2009 because it was part of my role as a Distributed Learning educator – how could I help teachers teach with and through technologies, if I didn’t test out the possibilities of an increasingly popular social media tool?

I figuratively “held my nose” and posted my 1st tweet with tongue-in-cheek and behind-the-screen eye-rolling.  My savvy edtech friends laughed when I made the mistake of selecting “Northerntweeter” as a handle; I hadn’t realized that that would use up their character limits if they tried to direct tweet me.

I learned to think of Twitter as a place to “skim the waves” and to choose moments to step into the flood and just wait and watch what tumbled past me in the flood. I quickly discovered that my tweets were retweeted more often when I took some time to craft my message (not just meet the 140 limit).

Restrictions can push innovation; artists and architects know how to take the time to explore what can be done within the limits of certain spaces or tools to create unique perspectives or enrichments. Twitter’s 140 character limit has resulted in some amazingly powerful tweets, memes, haiku-like social commentary, and some hilarious misunderstandings.

I’m trying hard to keep an open mind but my sadness was not assuaged by articles that suggest that allowing people to play emojii games is a new value-added result.