Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Twitter to introduce expanded 280-character tweets for all its users

Company says trial move of allowing some tweeters to have double-length character counts is to be rolled out to everyone

Wednesday 8 November 2017 00.04 GMTLast modified on Monday 27 November 2017 14.09 GMT

Twitter’s trial of a 280-character tweet limit is to be universally expanded, the social media network has announced.

The move comes after a limited experiment which began in September to see if a larger character count reduced “cramming” and led to users better expressing themselves.

Twitter has limited its users to 140 characters per tweet since its launch in 2006.

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It had been feared that licence for an expanded character limit would negatively effect the brevity of the social media site experience.

The expanded limit will be rolled out to users in all languages except Chinese, Japanese and Korean – where cramming is not an issue because those scripts can convey more information in a single character.

“In September, we launched a test that expanded the 140-character limit so every person around the world could express themselves easily in a tweet,” said Aliza Rosen, Twitter’s product manager.

“Our goal was to make this possible while ensuring we keep the speed and brevity that makes Twitter, Twitter.”

Excited to share that after weeks of extensive data analysis and feedback, we’re expanding our character limit to 280! Read more about what we learned and how we came to this decision here: 

The expanded character limit is part of plans to make the social media platform more accessible and appealing.

Twitter is looking to increase revenue and entice new users amid the ongoing battles with Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat.

Historically, 9% of tweets in English hit the 140-character limit but only 1% of tweets with the extended character count hit the limit during the trial, according to data published by Twitter.

“Looking at all the data, we’re excited to share we’ve achieved this goal and are rolling the change out to all languages where cramming was an issue.

“During the first few days of the test, many people tweeted the full 280 limit because it was new and novel, but soon after behaviour normalised.”

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Some had worried that tweets would become long-winded and verbosely phrased once users had more of the page to work with.

“We saw when people needed to use more than 140 characters, they tweeted more easily and more often,” Rosen said. “But importantly, people tweeted below 140 most of the time and the brevity of Twitter remained.”

Twitter said it proved that the extra space made it easier for users to “fit thoughts in a tweet”. 

As a result of the greater character limit, Twitter believe users spent less time editing their tweets in the composer and therefore could say what they wanted to say faster than before.

The company also said it found that the change had not changed the precise, correct usage of words on the site.

“We – and many of you – were concerned that timelines may fill up with 280-character Tweets, and people with the new limit would always use up the whole space,” Rosen said.

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But that didn’t happen, she added. Only 5% of tweets sent were longer than 140 characters, while only 2% were over 190 characters, 90 below the new limit.

“As a result, your timeline reading experience should not substantially change, you’ll still see about the same amount of tweets in your timeline.

“For reference, in the timeline, tweets with an image or poll usually take up more space than a 190-character tweet.”

Some users, however, are not satisfied and would much rather see other changes to the social media site.

These include a crackdown on hate crime and bots, and the introduction of a chronological timeline and edit function.

Twitter has about 330 million monthly active users around the world.

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