Twitter to Double the Length of Tweets from 140 Characters to 280

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Twitter has announced that they’re going to be moving away from its traditional 140 character tweet limit.  They are now testing out a new 280 character limit for some users.  This is a bit of a controversial move by Twitter, but the impetus is coming from the fact that character and word count varies based on different languages.  Languages like Japanese, Korean and Chinese can convey twice as much information (sometimes) in just one character.  To put this into perspective, 9 percent of tweets that are sent in English have 140 characters, because just 0.4% of tweets sent in Japanese hit that cap.

This is certainly going to cause a stir in the Twitter world.  Many long time users may be turned off by the move to the longer tweet length.  But Twitter hopes that the move will make it easier for everyone to use the service.  I guess the big question I have is whether or not anyone is going to care?  Do people have a hard time communicating with only 140 characters now?  And the increase in the character limit doesn’t support the challenges presented by the Japanese language, for example.  Which means, that 0.4% is going to be even lower, isn’t it?  So why are they increasing the limit?  Apparently, it is frustrating for people who are tweeting in English though.  But I still don’t understand why.  I see posts on Instagram, where the captions are like two pages long. I certainly don’t want to read that, nor do I have time to read that.  If it’s a paragraph, I will read it, but any more than that, and I’m out.

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Twitter had the following to say:

We’re hoping fewer Tweets run into the character limit, which should make it easier for everyone to Tweet. 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.

I get that they want it to be a more inclusive platform, but I’m not convinced that the longer character limit is really what is necessary.  Twitter CEO, Jack Dorsey thinks that this will solve the problem that people are running into.

This is a small change, but a big move for us. 140 was an arbitrary choice based on the 160 character SMS limit. Proud of how thoughtful the team has been in solving a real problem people have when trying to tweet. And at the same time maintaining our brevity, speed, and essence!

But like I said, is this even an issue?  It sounds like it might be.  I guess I wonder who needs to tweet that much?  One person comes to mind, and I can only imagine what he will be up to after this rolls out.  Twitter said that they will start rolling out the 280 character limit to a small percentage of users as a test.  They aren’t fully promising that all users will ever see this change.  Which means, this is just a test.  If your account does have the updated character limit, let us know. And also let us know what you think about it?  I don’t know what to think about this, honestly.  It could work out really well, and it may, but it could also be just another idea that doesn’t go anywhere.  We will see!