Change is here and Twitter has finally given into user requests of increasing the character limit for Tweets. The microblogging platform is testing an increased character limit for Tweets for the first time since its inception in 2006, that is more than a decade of following the 140 character limit.
“Trying to cram your thoughts into a Tweet - we’ve all been there and it’s a pain,” Twitter writes in a blogpost announcing the change. The new character limit for Tweets will be set to 280 characters after a period of testing. According to Twitter, the change has been made to allow users to better express their emotions in languages “impacted by cramming.” This includes English and multiple other languages, except Japanese, Chinese and Korean, since the latter set of languages naturally allow people to “convey double the amount of information in one character.”
The 280 characters limit is currently being tested and is only available to a select, small group of users as of now. “Although this is only available to a small group right now, we want to be transparent about why we are excited to try this,” says Twitter.
140 characters (left) and 280 characters (right)
As per the company's findings, only 0.4 percent of Tweets sent in Japanese have 140 characters, while in English, 9 percent of Tweets sent have 140 characters. Most Japanese Tweets are 15 characters while most English Tweets are 34. Twitter’s research indicates that the limited 140 characters are a major cause of frustration for users Tweeting in the English language.
Twitter concludes its blogpost saying, “We understand since many of you have been Tweeting for years, there may be an emotional attachment to 140 characters – we felt it, too. But we tried this, saw the power of what it will do, and fell in love with this new, still brief, constraint. We are excited to share this today, and we will keep you posted about what we see and what comes next.”
Twitter has been struggling to keep users engaged on the platform for a while now. The company is increasingly finding ways to retain users and increase participation on the platform and this increase in character limit marks a big step towards achieving that goal. It was recently rumoured that Twitter is testing a new Tweetstorm feature to allow users to chain their Tweets automatically. The company is also testing a lighter version of its app which will use less mobile data.