Why Twitter changed their character limit to 280?

Twitter’s recent move from 140-characters to 280, has created quite a stir among the global Twitterati. What you may not know is that it’s a global test and Twitter says its open to changing it again. We found out what motivated Twitter to make this change and how people are reacting.

More Expressive Tweets

At some stage Twitter were considering changing the character limit to 10 000! Some, who are emotionally attached to the 140-character limit, feel quite strongly about the move. And others are rejoicing that they no longer need to edit their ramblings so harshly.

Twitter say that their research showed that the 140-character limit was a major cause of frustration for those tweeting in English. They believe that the extra ‘real estate’ will allow users to be more expressive. “When people don’t have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and have some to spare, we see more people Tweeting — which is awesome!” said the Company in a recent blog post. The only language exceptions are for Japanese, Chinese and Korean. The reason for excluding these languages from the expanded character is due to the nature of their written language. The average tweet in Japanese is 15 characters and only 0.4% of these tweets reach the 140-character limit.

Why tweets were 140-characters in the first place?

What you may not know is that the 140-character limit was originally established based on the length of an SMS which was how Tweets were distributed. That was before the development of Mobile Apps. In 2016, it introduced an optional ranked timeline that showed ‘the best tweets first,’ followed by tweets in the standard reverse-chronological order. It also expanded tweets by not counting media attachments against the character limit.

Some Twitter users are embracing the change:

Burndrive said: “Doubling it was close enough to producing the outcome they desire (where everyone is brief, but has enough characters to fit in a complete thought, or digestible segment of a thought). Doubling is aesthetically pleasing, and alleviates the emotional attachment some of us have for the old 140-character limit.”

Some Twitter users aren’t that happy:

@Brian.Eric.Ford said: “I’ll miss the old limit. 140 characters required effort, and it made people think about what they were saying and how they could say it. Thoughts had to be distilled down to their essence. Sometimes, unable to get a thought across the way I wanted, I decided NOT to tweet, which is probably not a bad thing.”

And others see the humour:

And VRF said: “Let’s give Trump a bigger shovel”.

Love it, hate it or ambivalent– we are all in the social experiment together. Let us know what you think of the new limit and how its working for you?  Creative Imagineering manage social media activity for a diversity of clients.  We have the in-house specialists that can ensure your online presence remains top-of-mind and you grow your online communities too.

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