A rumor has been going round that due to the dramatic upsurge in use of the micro-blogging service Twitter following the Tôhoku earthquake, the social networking site would be indefinitely restricting tweets in Japan to 17 characters in order to prevent overloading the telephone lines.
The blogosphere went wild over this. People tweeted, "17 characters? WT . . ." One blogger suggested that an efficient use of the newly truncated tweets could be the following message of encouragement: "がんばれ日本！いつも応援してるぞ." (trans. Hang in there Japan! We're always rooting for you!)
With everything from toilet paper and batteries to instant ramen and mineral water in short supply these days, it was only natural the gullible public felt that the precious babble of tweets would eventually be rationed as well.