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Twitter and their controversial 280 character limit

Twitter trials expanding tweets from 140 characters to 280

Twitter announced back in September that they would be expanding beyond its 140-character limit.  This was fianlly rolled out to all user this week. This will be for select languages, including English, Spanish, Portuguese, and French, to allow users to share their thoughts without running out of room in the tweet. They will be testing this feature out on a small group of verified accounts, to begin with.

Their reasoning for expanding the character count was because, for those tweeting in some languages such as Japanese, Korean or Chinese, they require fewer characters than tweets in English or Spanish. Twitter explained with a graph:

'We see that a small percent of Tweets sent in Japanese have 140 characters (only 0.4%). But in English, a much higher percentage of Tweets have 140 characters (9%). Most Japanese Tweets are 15 characters while most English Tweets are 34. Our research shows us that the character limit is a major cause of frustration for people Tweeting in English, but it is not for those Tweeting in Japanese.'

Twitter believes that when people have more character they are more likely to tweet. But since the launch of Twitter, we have all kept within the 140 character limit and got our point across. For many, it is what makes Twitter so unique, taking away it's short and snappy Tweets it will become a lot like other social platforms. We have seen mixed (and funny) reviews of the change.

My thoughts - If you can't say it in 280 characters, don't say it at all. On the flip side, this feature is great for those who have more to say and require a few more characters to make an important point.

Techcrunch has reported that alongside this change, Twitter is also updating the user interface. It will no longer count down the characters until you near the end. Instead, you won’t know how many characters you have left until you reach 20.

It has been reported that test is not expected to last long before Twitter plans to make a decision regarding a broader rollout. What do you think of the 280 character limit? Let us know on Twitter and share your thoughts.

By Jessica Wade

I am the Social Media Executive for Smart Insights. I manage all of Smart Insights social media channels and social strategy. I love all things social, most of the time you will find me endlessly scrolling through Instagram. You can follow me on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.

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