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Pros and Cons of Twitter’s 140-Character Limit, Part 2

Should Twitter consider increasing its 140-character limit? Some have said Twitter should double the amount. On Friday, I listed the pros of the current system. Today, as promised, are the cons. Where do you fall in the Twitter debate?


You Can’t Say A Lot in 140 Characters
In all honesty, it’s not easy to craft a compelling, understandable message in just 140 characters. Some argue this makes you a better writer by forcing you to focus on the point being made, but sometimes it simply can ruin what you are trying to say.

For example, many tweets end up leaving out so many vowels it ends up being impossible to tell what the tweeter is saying. Some tweeters elongate their tweets by adding (1/2) or “cont’d” to indicate the tweet thought isn’t finished. But in the flurry of tweets, those two parts can get disconnected in your stream and end up not making a whole lot of sense.

Conversation is Stifled
“Forcing people to shrink their updates to 140 characters prevents meaningful interaction between users, short-circuits conversations, and turns otherwise straightforward thoughts into a bewildering jumble of txtese,” wrote Slate’s Farhad Manjoo in a much discussed recent post.

Originally, he argues, Twitter was only meant to be a broadcast system. But when people started using the @handle convention, Twitter changed. It became a forum to discuss ideas. Unlike on Facebook or Google+, you simply can’t do this this on Twitter, he said. The solution Manjoo offers is Twitter should double its character restrictions to 280.

Twitter is ‘Boring’
Now that Google+ is on the scene, and seems to effectively combine the best parts of Facebook and Twitter, the latter has lost its luster, according to Robert Scoble, of Rackspace.

“Google+ has beautiful photos and videos. Twitter? Just page after page of mind-numbing 140 character items,” he writes.

With all that Google+ lets its users do, Twitter needs to ramp up its game.

So, what do you think? What do you like the most about Twitter and its 140 characters? What do you like the least? Has Google+ lured you away forever from what was once America’s favorite microblogging site? Let us know in the comments section below.

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