Twitter doubles character limit to 280 for (nearly) everyone

2 Germans post tweet of 35000 characters
Twitter to expand 280-character tweets
Author

08 November, 2017

Only 5pc of Tweets sent were longer than 140 characters and only 2pc were over 190 characters.

In previous years, reports surfaced that Twitter was exploring increasing the character limit for tweets - reports Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey quashed by calling the 140-character limit "a attractive constraint". Twitter believes that its users that *it was too hard to tweet*.

Having only been rolled out to a privileged few when the initial experiment was launched in September, Twitter has now made a decision to let (nearly) all users avail of an extended 280 character limit in tweets, double the original character limit. Others just want an edit button already.

Naturally, Twitter was quick to remove the tweet (though an archived version remains for the curious), fix the bug and temporarily ban both users.

It says during the test many people tweeted the full 280 limit because it was new and novel, but soon after this people's behaviour normalised. Twitter noticed that usually, these trial tweeters tweeted using fewer than 140 characters.

At present, the character-limitation encourages "threads", where multiple tweets are linked to form the equivalent of a blog post.

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Twitter says this often results in lots of time spent editing and, at times, abandoning tweets before sending. In most cases, it doesn't seem like most people are actually increasing the length of their tweets; we have apparently been trained well. There has been a wave of criticism of the move to 280 characters, with some tweeters claiming they will leave the site.

"We - and many of you - were concerned that timelines may fill up with 280-character tweets, and people with the new limit would always use up the whole space".

The character change could also help spur user growth, an important issue for investors wanting Twitter to follow the trajectory of social media giants such as Facebook and Instagram.

Twitter's character limit was created so that tweets could fit into a single text message, back when many people were using texts to receive tweets.

"It's worth emphasising again that people in the test got very excited about the extra space in the beginning and many Tweets went way beyond 140", said Ms Rosen. It was a temporary effect and didn't last long.


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