President Donald Trump seems to enjoy the inflammatory 140-character dispatches that he quickly (and too effortlessly) sends on Twitter.
But when Twitter expands its limit to 280 characters — starting this week for a small group of users — Trump’s relationship to the social media platform may change. And it likely won’t be pretty.
Twitter announced Tuesday that it was doubling the limit after complaints that the 140-character rule is unfair for certain languages. For example, those who tweet in languages like Japanese tend to tweet more since they feel less restricted. Not so for English speakers.
Now that’s all well and good, but we’re concerned about Trump having access to longer tweets — and not without reason.
1. More tweets
Twitter found that since more is conveyed with fewer characters in languages like Japanese, Korean, and Chinese, users don’t have to max out or cram a lot into one tweet. Only 0.4 percent of Japanese tweets hit the character limit. Almost 9 percent of English tweets hit the 140-character max.
OK, so what’s that have to do with Trump? Well, because they have extra space, users in Japan feel inclined to send more tweets. So English-language tweeters, like Trump, will likely tweet more due to the increased character limit.
Looking at Trump’s tweet count, more tweeting is not what anyone needs. He’s already at almost 36,000 tweets since March 2009. He has 234 tweets just with “loser” in it; 91 with “sad!”
2. More room
This extension is a double-edged sword. This gives room for Trump to better explain himself, but it’s doubtful he’ll use it for thoughtful musings. Really, it gives space for him to make up more lies, insult more people, and bring more ‘covfefe’ moments into our lives.
Here’s a recent Trump tweet that is exactly 140 characters.
Ratings for NFL football are way down except before game starts, when people tune in to see whether or not our country will be disrespected!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 26, 2017
Imagine what nonsense he’d tap out with twice the space?
3. More thoughtless ire
Those additional 140 characters just give the president a bigger platform to mess things up. Pissing off international leaders, like the London mayor (and many others, like, ahem, North Korea); blaming storm-ravaged countries; and ruining companies’ value, like when he tweeted about Amazon, are all examples of Trump using Twitter to blow things up.
Pathetic excuse by London Mayor Sadiq Khan who had to think fast on his “no reason to be alarmed” statement. MSM is working hard to sell it!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 5, 2017
Also, nobody wants to see more violent, unnecessary tweets with vulgar GIFs, especially if he keeps attacking the media and Hillary Clinton.
4. More feature fails
Trump already has enough trouble with threading tweets and linking several tweets in a row for a tweetstorm. Remember that time he finished a train of thought hours later:
The Wall is a very important tool in stopping drugs from pouring into our country and poisoning our youth (and many others)! If
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 24, 2017
Then three hours later…
Lengthier tweets might throw off Trump even more.
5. More blocking
Longer tweets could keep Trump on Twitter for longer periods and prompt more responses and replies to his tweets — that he won’t like. This leaves ample opportunity to shut down his critics and detractors and block users he disagrees with.
6. More distraction
With more space comes more opportunity to distract from big issues, like the Russia investigation, a health care repeal and replace vote, and North Korean relations.
UC Berkeley political scientist T.J. Pempel, said in the Pacific Standard, “Whenever he gets into trouble politically … his normal strategy is to dangle something new and different before the media, and everyone will glom onto the new shiny object.”
Longer tweets will give Trump more to dangle.
BONUS: Did we mention war?
Just to reiterate, more space for Trump to push foreign leaders into nuclear war is reason enough to keep Trump away from longer tweets.
Just heard Foreign Minister of North Korea speak at U.N. If he echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won’t be around much longer!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 24, 2017
One could imagine Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly begging Twitter to keep the president far away from 280 characters of potential damage. For the good of the country.