Late this September, in an effort to help users be more expressive, Twitter announced that they were going to be beta testing doubling their tweet character limit from 140 to 280 characters. This announcement greatly excited President Donald Trump, who revealed he had been chosen as one of the beta testers and has astounded Americans with his newfound eloquence and verbosity.
In a blog post officially introducing the change, Twitter explained that this new character limit will “encourage people to tweet more since they won’t have to cram their ideas, edit their thoughts, or have any filters to fit an arbitrary character limit.” While some praised Twitter’s move to expand users’ ability to express themselves, critics have pointed out that this move also expands the platform of “a certain notorious and active dead-of-night, probably-on-the-toilet presidential tweeter.” Twitter has insisted that their beta testing group was chosen at random and “definitely not because of pleas, bribes, or mendacious political forethought.”
The world leader quickly took to Twitter to exercise this expansion of free speech. White House officials have been eager to applaud Twitter’s actions, speculating that this increased functionality will produce a more anodyne POTUS who will “probably waste even more time on his phone” and “leave us alone.” Supporters of Trump have especially been praising Twitter’s actions, saying that Trump can “finally take his place among the country’s greatest presidents and statesmen by demonstrating his eloquent and unique speechwriting.”
In his first tweet with the expanded character limit, Trump stated, “Four score and seven years ago, our fathers brought forth on this continent a Great Depression, exacerbated by the horrible Hoover Administration, and everyone thinks I’m the worst US president? Did you not see me dedicate a golf trophy to the hurricane victims? I’m a saint #MAGA”
Trump has also taken advantage of the new update to improve his foreign policy, as Twitter was already the outlet for most of his international correspondence. In a tweet intended to assuage public fears of nuclear devastation, Trump proclaimed, “Let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself – and that crazy old Rocket Man up in Asia. I mean, can I just nuke him already? I have the power to do that, right?”
The recent imbroglio over the decision by the United States to pull out of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization and become a non-member observer has also given Trump an opportunity to demonstrate his rationale to the world. Trump tweeted an explanation for the decision by calling on the international community:
“My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man. Education, science, and culture are simply values that the American public does not need to hold closely. Also, Reagan did the same thing, so why not?”
However, it would soon be discovered that Twitter’s groundbreaking improvement had not gone far enough, and that barriers remained between Trump and his desired level of loquaciousness. After being forced to use two separate tweets to deliver an address proclaiming that “we will overcome” NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem, Trump proceeded to call that same day “a day which will live in infamy” and bashed Twitter for limiting his freedom of expression. As a result, rumors emerged the following day that Twitter was considering a beta test of doubling the character limit to 560 characters.