Twitter is testing a change in their network by doubling a tweet’s character limit from 140 characters to 280. The intention is to consequently make the platform more expressive for users.
Research and analytics show that about 9 percent of tweets today are exactly 140 characters. As a result, it is suggested that users are having to edit down their initial thoughts and communication to a constrained number of characters. The hassle of having to adjust tweets is being alleviated by twitter for languages that are “impacted by cramming”. This excludes Asian languages that can communicate more in fewer characters.
History of 140 characters
The character limit was originally set up by Twitter to reflect the length of an SMS. A standard SMS message has a limit of 160 characters, Twitter reserved the remaining 20 characters for the username.
Frustration with the character limit is not new, and Twitter has been playing with the idea of expanding the limit for years. In addition, media attachments are not counted in the character limit. In fact, Twitter has been experimenting a lot lately. They have recently developed the slightly controversial ranked timeline that shows users the best tweets first.
Super-sized tweets are expected to change the entire nature of the platform in unpredictable ways. “Tweetstorms”, jokes, memes and general comments are expected to take a turn. Most Twitter apps should already have the availability to show longer tweets. You know if you are able to use the extended limit by the character counter at the bottom right-hand corner appearing as a circle and counts down from 280. Twitter will collect data from the test (that is set randomized) before rolling the change out to all users.
Twitter’s goal with the increase in length is to encourage people to post more, without having to remove important and emotive words.