Twitter experiments with doubling its character limit

Twitter to test longer tweets to drive engagement

"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", Rosen and Ihara wrote in the blog post.

The trial is being rolled out to a small percentage of Twitter's 328 million monthly active users, with the company saying it is "excited to see how those with 280 characters use it".

"We understand since many of you have been Tweeting for years, there may be an emotional attachment to 140 characters - we felt it, too", the company said in its blog post.

For the first time in its 11-year history, Twitter will lift the 140-character limit for tweets - at least for some people. "I doubt that the restriction on the length of a tweet is what has stopped people from joining Twitter". "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".

It's true that some languages allow each character to count for more. This includes clamping down on 10 times as many abusive tweeters compared to previous year, expanding its mute function to combat bullying and harassment and showing users how to report abusive tweets.

But under a new test announced Tuesday, the San Francisco tech company said it will begin giving users in much of the world twice as much room to tweet. The notion that 140 characters are too restrictive is almost as old as Twitter itself, and 280 characters have always been an obvious upgrade-one that social-media power user Robert Scoble said he'd be willing to pay $20 a month for way back in March 2007.

Twitter to test longer tweets to drive engagement

"(Doubling the 140-character limit) might get some people to tweet more often, but will it attract new users", Williamson said about Twitter. The company did not say when it will decide if the feature should be expanded.

Most of the announcement was spent explaining the differences between English and Japanese, which did not satisfy the many people who pointing out that brevity is Twitter's defining characteristic and that 280-character tweets might undermine the site's entire appeal. It's what makes it such a great way to see what's happening.

To give everyone the same freedom to express themselves, Twitter made a decision to double the amount of characters for all languages except Japanese, Korean, and Chinese, or so the logic goes.

In the end, "Tweets get right to the point with the information or thoughts that matter", the company said of the 280-character tweet test.

How much will it change the flavor of Twitter?

Jack Dorsey, Twitter's CEO, has already given us a taste of what to expect if this change does actually occur.



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