By Sandra Orwell
SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. — Beginning June 1, Twitter users will face a new limit of 31 characters per message. But more alarming to many users is that the messages (or tweets) will have to be written in an abbreviated alphabet of two vowels (A and E) and five consonants (D, G, M, S and T), according to a 14-character tweet from the company. An exclamation point will be the only punctuation mark allowed.
“We’re trying to solve the problem of verbiage or what we call garbiage,” said Twitter CEO Dick Costolo. “People are using way too many words to say nothing or less than nothing or even less than that. Our main concern is to raise the level of conversation on Twitter by eliminating all the drivel and flapdoodle.”
By restricting allowable letters, the company intends to make tweeting harder so that people only do it when they have something really important to say. In a live interview with Fox News Host Greta Van Susteren, Costolo used the new restrictions to show what future tweets would look like. He broke them down by topic:
Family: Egad! Ma sed tad mad at me mess
Friends: Egad! Date set meet mate egg tea
Politics: Egad! Mag sed Dems dam dam mad
Sports: Egad! Me tad mad at dam team sag
Restaurant: Egad! Me sat ate de egg meat
Celebrity: Egad! Mag sed dame dam sad mess
Costolo said the company plans to eliminate one more vowel (A) and two more consonants (D and T) by the end of the year, leaving E, G, M and S as the remaining allowable letters.
“And if the quality of tweets hasn’t improved by 2016,” he said, “we’re prepared to phase out all letters completely so we’re not guilty of enabling the equivalent of chipmunk and squirrel chatter. We’ll replace letters with numerals (1, 3 and 7). Users will tweet the number 1 to indicate a positive thought or feeling; 3 to indicate a negative thought or feeling; and 7 to indicate any blend of both.”