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Twitter is about to double the lenght of tweets to 280 characters


The microblogging site Twitter announced yesterday that the tweets in your timeline may soon get super-sized. The social media has started testing 280-character tweets, doubling the actual character limit that exists since the creation of Twitter in 2006.

For eleven years, the point of Twitter was to allow you to post messages with a lenght of 140 characteurs maximum, to reflect the length of SMS messages. Even if it was quite a nightmare for chatty people, the social media had the advantage of pushing its users to write in a brief and direct way. But everything could change now. A few hours ago, Twitter announced that it has started testing 280-character tweets, doubling the previous character limit. Considering that Twitter has considered expanding the tweet length for years with many rumours trying to find out how it could do it, this news does not come as a big surprise. Still, it could represent a huge change for all its users!


Why such a decision today, after so many years being proud of its 140-character posts? Because, feeling the rivalry with other social platforms, the microblogging site wants to make sure its users stay and keep being active on the service. “Our research shows us that the character limit is a major cause of frustration for people tweeting in English”, the company said in a blog post released yesterday. “When people don’t have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and actually have some to spare, we see more people Tweeting — which is awesome!”


Jack Dorsey himself, co-founder and CEO of Twitter, took advantage of this little revolution to share a message that is clearly longer than usual after the possible change was officially announced: “We expected (and ❤️!) all the snark & critique for #280characters. Comes with the job. What matters now is we clearly show why this change is important, and prove to you all it’s better. Give us some time to learn and confirm (or challenge!) our ideas”.


Another idea behind this current test is to end the fact that, until now, there are big differences between what people can share within 140 characters, depending on their language. As the blog post explains, “For example, when I (Aliza) Tweet in English, I quickly run into the 140 character limit and have to edit my Tweet down so it fits. Sometimes, I have to remove a word that conveys an important meaning or emotion, or I don’t send my Tweet at all. But when Iku Tweets in Japanese, he doesn’t have the same problem. He finishes sharing his thought and still has room to spare. This is because in languages like Japanese, Korean, and Chinese you can convey about double the amount of information in one character as you can in many other languages, like English, Spanish, Portuguese, or French”.


Therefore, with its decision to double the lenght to characters allowed in a tweet, Twitter intends to help every person around the world to easily express themselves. The new feature is currently being tested by a small group and we still have to wait to see if it will be released everywhere, in case the test brings positive conclusions. Anyway, we can already be sure that the social media probably will not allow more than 280 character-tweets in the future. As the blog post shared yesterday recalled, “Twitter is about brevity. It’s what makes it such a great way to see what’s happening. Tweets get right to the point with the information or thoughts that matter. That is something we will never change”.

Celine Pastezeur

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