Place item was collected
Zachary Grant Bess
Point of Discovery/Informant Bio
My name is Zachary Grant Bess, I’m a student with a Dual Major in English Teaching and History Teaching. I’m in the military, as well as a student, and currently serve in the USUSA as the Senator for CHaSS here at USU. I was raised in Southern Utah. I am a frequent user of social media and have had twitter for 7 years or more, besides Snapchat, Facebook, Instagram etc. (as well as the defunct, Myspace, Bebo, Hi5, Google+, etc.) I follow internet culture as a participant quite often. I understand the business news, culture, and tech news around these social media platforms.
November 07 2017, Twitter announced that they were raising their character count from the long institutionalized 140 allowed characters, to double, with users being able to use 280 characters in a single tweet. The original limit of 140 was simply based off of outdated technology they argued, as 140 characters was historically the limit that “SMS” Text messages were limited to, and “Twittr” as it was then known had used the SMS service to publish, thus using that same limitation. Long rumored, and not as substantial as some had hoped/feared (500+) the move made a large commotion on the internet and people declared twitter as “dead.” Many people were frustrated that twitter had turned away from its “Values” [perceived morality.] They believed the platform had offered a specific experience that forced users to be creative with their use of words and think things out. Contrarily other users were excited and had felt restricted for a long time with the 140 character limitation; asking for even more than 280. Those people reasoned that users were already making chains of tweets to express themselves, and that doubling the allowed limit would at least minimize some of that. Both sides took to, fittingly, twitter to make their meta comments on the change. Some simply cheered or whined, while others found creative ways to be excited, angry, relieved, or annoyed by the new allowance. This software change is not unique, Facebook and others often change their platform and receive both positive and negative reaction from their user base because something has changed.
[The Chicago Bears use the limit to reference a Saturday Night Live Skit, in Humor]
[I use the new limit to share a longer portion of a classic poem, more than I might have previously, as a proud English Major]
[Student uses satire to mock the new limit, playing the part of an annoying internet user who abuses and overuses the limit]
[a reference to both 420, the marijuana celebration, and a classic meme from It’s Always Sunny in Philidelphia, that explains confusing situations]
[user shows the full limit of how bad this change could be]
[TV Show Law And Order use the limit to show their entire intro dialogue, which, in itself, is a meme on the internet]
[Nat Geo uses the new limit to post all the animal emoji’s and show they are happy with the new limit]
[NBA Ref’s use 280 to mock people’s criticism of them]
[Dictionary Company uses 280 to define “Extravagent”]
[New York Yankees, known to be the winningest baseball team in MLB history, take the opportunity to post all of the years they have won the world-series, in one tweet. Bragging]
[a play off of another viral post, this student mocks STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) majors, referencing the 280 phenomenon, stating his tweet of 280 characters will have a better audience on twitter than they STEM Major’s 20 page research paper. The original tweet was STEM major’s mocking liberal arts students and how easy their work was]
The textured use of #280characters is so varied it can be used for any emotion. It’s almost always used in humor, regardless of if the posting user actually supported the platform change or not. Because it’s online, the user can be coming from any perspective. As seen in the NAT Geo, NBA, Yankees, Websters etc. post, it can be a way of bragging or promoting yourself with the new ability of 280, or it can be meta and mocking the change itself.
Lynne S. McNeil
Semester and year
Bess, Zachary Grant, "#280characters" (2017). USU Student Folklore Fieldwork. Paper 91.