Earlier we quoted Geert Lovink's criticisms of the mindless forced brevity of current social media "updates." Among other things he says "there is a reason why Twitter is limited to 140 characters. There was no technological limitation (not enough bandwidth, computing power, interface etc.)." The reason being, implicitly, to keep us mindlessly consuming.
Twitter didn't start out as an instrument of the devil, however. Seven years ago those little blurts of text were fun and for some, as Jules Laplace reminds us, they actually served a purpose:
Twitter is limited to 140 characters because that's the size of a text message. It was designed for "dumb phone" communication, and came out in 2006, a year before the iPhone. You could text tweets to the number 40404 and have them broadcast out. This might still be the case.
One of the people who built Twitter made something called TXTMob before, which was used to organize with "dumb phones" during the DNC/RNC protests in 2004 - - "it told me where the cops were and where I could rest" - Of course, I'm not arguing that these ideas haven't been perverted by marketing and "analytics" since then.
Facebook, on the other hand, lets you post long comments, but makes you look like a ranting lunatic by cutting them off after 3 lines. It is definitely repressive.