The only real Twitter feature is the character limit. That such a constraint can even be an advantage is noteworthy, let alone helping Twitter become a social media giant.
Not all constraints are bad. Traffic rules, queues and data privacy laws make our lives better. Twitter’s character forces people to communicate the essence of their thoughts, and rewards them for it. Sure – you can start tweetstorms, but they are more inconvenient than free-flowing prose in a status window. And that deliberate inconvenience has boosted Twitter 261 million strong user base, and pushed its market cap past $30 billion.
At the heart of embracing constraints is the humility required to understand that our “free-will” is constantly limited, distorted and manipulated by our environment. This humility frees us to redesign our environments, add constraints and nudge ourselves to go where we seek to go.
2 thoughts on “What Twitter got right”
Agree 100%. I remember I was fuming when they increased the character limit. The usp of Twitter was the 140 character limit and seeing people be so creative in the little space they get. That’s the art. As Mark Twain said, “I didn’t have time to write a short letter, so I wrote a long one instead.”
Exactly! The 280 characters limit seems to be neither here nor there. Any further increase would see Twitter’s death.