Some people’s solution to problems, especially business problems, is to throw more money at the problem. Twitter’s solution to its declining numbers? Throw more letters. It has just recently doubled the amount of characters you can type into a tweet, which isn’t exactly doing it any favors. Now it is doubling the number of characters you can use in your display name, which will potentially open things up to further abuse and, therefore, more criticism.
In case you didn’t know it yet, you can change the name that people see in your tweets and profile on a whim, while keeping your “@username” constant. This allows users to be more “expressive” and adapt their names to trends, events, and feels. Of course, it has also made Twitter a somewhat confusing place in that regard.
Now you can express yourself via your display name in 50 characters. Previously, you could only use up to 20 characters, which, admittedly, is quite short for some names. With 50, now you can even include your middle name. Those 50 characters cover not just alphanumeric symbols but all sorts of glyphs, including everyone’s favorite emojis.
This move mirrors Twitter’s expansion of tweets from 140 characters to 280 characters. Intended to also allow users more freedom of expression, the change wasn’t exactly well-received by most users. Some, like Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling, bemoaned how it actually lessened the medium’s expressiveness, which forced users to be more creative with their precious 140 characters.
Twitter itself admitted that those 280 characters weren’t exactly always used up even by its beta testers, but it strangely pushed through with it anyway. Most Twitter users would probably prefer that the social media giant focus its resources on implementing more requested features, like editing tweets after the fact.