Twitter Experiments With 280 Character Tweets

Jack Dorsey, Twitter Getty

Jack Dorsey, Twitter's CEO, speaks during the Sierra Club's 125th Anniversary Trailer Blazer's Ball on May 18, 2017.

Twitter has long been known for delivering short and sweet statements all in 140 characters. Today, the company announced it is experimenting with some users being able to use 280 characters in their tweets, doubling the current amount allowed.

The news was first announced in blog post on Tuesday. The reason behind this is many tweets by English speaking users quickly run out of room in their tweets and have to either edit words out or commit grammatical sins such as omitting commas and apostrophes. The blog post mentions that most tweets in English has 34 characters while most tweets in Japanese contain 15 characters. As a result, this change will be affecting all languages except Japanese, Chinese and Korean.

“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 wrote in the blog post. “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.”

Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO, has already given us a taste of what to expect if this change does actually occur. This change isn’t actually rolling out to everyone right but will instead target a small group of people in an effort to collect valuable feedback before opening the feature up for a broader audience. The whole goal of this potential change is to see fewer tweets hit the character limit.

Twitter showing us the same tweet in three different langauges.

A picture was included in the blog post that showed the same tweet translated into three separate languages. The English tweet barely scraped by while the Spanish tweet went over 140 characters by 14. The Japanese tweet registered with just 67 characters, by far the lowest of the bunch.

“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,” said the blog post. “Also, in all markets, 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!”

Twitter has been inching toward allowing more into their tweets by allowing web links to not count as characters in your tweets. On top of that, photos, videos, GIFs, polls and Quote tweets no longer count toward your 140 characters.

If you happen to see some longer than usual tweets out there, now you know why. While today’s change will affect a small portion of users, there’s no guarantee it will be coming to everyone else in the near future. Twitter will likely need to collect enough data to determine whether it is needed or not.

One thing is for certain and that is that it will be much easier to go on Twitter rants now. Instead of having multiple tweets about a subject, such as President Trump’s recent tirade about the NFL and its players taking knees during the National Anthem, you can now have them all in one tweet.

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