C haracter Count vs Trolls
What’s more likely to harm Twitter’s usage: that 140 characters doesn’t go as far as it used to, or the tendency to be the weapon of choice for online harassment? Earlier this week, Twitter announced changes that go a long way to addressing character count. We’re all still waiting on a plan to make Twitter a more hospitable environment to have a conversation, though.
The phrase that comes to mind is “polishing the brass on the titanic.”
Trolling is the obvious problem for Twitter’s future, because it’s an open wound they can’t cover up. When Twitter makes news that breaks out into the world at large, it is most likely because of the latest harassment incident that went viral.
- Example 1: Starting as early as 2008
- Example 2: NY Times Editor quits Twitter because of anti-Semitic tweets
- Jack Dorsey’s Mea Culpa
Which wasn’t enough to get ahead of…
I’m not suggesting that any significant number of people have left Twitter because they’ve been on the receiving end of internet mob violence, but I’m quite that confident millions of people never signed up because Twitter is synonymous with these kinds of incidents.
Aspiring to be a kind of wild-west for free speech is fine for a privately held company, but if Twitter wants stay in the stratosphere with other social media titans it’s got to stop letting trolls drag it into the mud.