The 280 Challenge

The 280 Challenge

I started writing goofy poems on Twitter and wanted them all to be exactly 280 characters since that is the maximum number of characters allowed on that platform. It used to be 140 and it was a way better community back then.

Don’t get me started!

Lately, due to an ownership change at Twitter, like leaving Spotify and Facebook, it felt perfectly fine to stop participating.

I wanted to save the little poems I wrote and maybe add a few new ones as the mood strikes and I began transferring them here.

But then the problem arose.

My current Journey software counts characters differently than Twitter. Journey does not count line returns (seems like a fair decision), but Twitter did. So while I’ve been trying to edit these and make sure they’re all 280, I may have missed a few from the old platform and those will be under the target goal. Mea culpa as they say.

Now, more to the point, why does this even matter.

I’ve learned over time that 280 characters is an opulent amount of communication tools to relay a thought in its entirety. Each time I write one I’m impressed at how the limitation forces a kind of precision use of language while allowing the space to let the idea breathe its own air.

So, I will be reviewing the older poems as I have time, but the new program going forward won’t count line returns. Suddenly width or depth is no longer a wrinkle in the process. Just write.

You should try it too. Most writing software is capable of doing character counts. I just checked my version of Word and it does not count line returns in its character count, so as usual, Twitter is wrong.

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