I remember years ago a loved one getting all excited about a letter they were sent about a book publishing deal. Someone was offering to publish their book. All they needed was a bit of money. Or, rather, a lot of money. It made said loved one sad, but a swift intervention and explanation of the scam that is ‘vanity publishing’ stopped a costly mistake. Twitter now apparently exists in broadly the same space.

Making good on an unsaid promise to destroy everything that was once good about the service, Musk has ordered his underlings to simultaneously destroy Twitter’s USP and discover how many gullible users it has. This all comes by way of a new character limit that will be exclusive to subscription tier Twitter Blue.

Having apparently fired all the copywriters, Twitter announced in a block of text that would make even the sternest production editor cry that you’ll now be able to send up to 4000 characters in a single tweet – if you pay to do so. By default, the tweet will collapse to the standard 280 and add a ‘show more’ link – perhaps the sole sensible decision Twitter has made since Musk’s takeover.

The broader picture here, though, is nonsensical. Twitter was a place where ideas spread, but not necessarily where they lived. People typically linked to longform content elsewhere. And, yes, although some folks on the site craft threads comprising a dizzying number of linked tweets, those communications have a distinct rhythm of their own, and are shareable on an individual basis.

4000 characters upends what makes Twitter unique, and welding it to Twitter Blue suggests Twitter thinks content creators should pay Twitter for the privilege of posting original content on to Twitter’s platform – a platform currently run by a man who showcases a flagrant disregard for rules, and presumably can be trusted with IP roughly as far as you can throw a Tesla. That sounds like a pretty crappy deal to me.