Electronics

Twitter to test 280 character limit in global experiment

Twitter to test 280 character limit in global experiment

That's why on Tuesday, Twitter tried to assure its users that little would change, even with the potential of twice-as-long tweets on the horizon.

While Twitter plans on rolling out this more generous character limit out initially to a small group before making a decision to roll it out to all of its users, many previous features it's tested have wound up mainstays, such as replacing stars with hearts in November 2015 as a way to favorite or "like" tweets.

Twitter is expanding the amount of characters you can tweet - from the usual 140 to 280. In a blog post, Twitter product manager Aliza Rosen and senior software engineer Ikuhiro Ihara said that the test would, however, be unavailable in languages like Japanese in which expressing longer sentiments in fewer characters is easier.

Twitter noted that it understands its users may have "an emotional attachment to 140 characters", adding "we felt it, too".

In Japan, for instance, just 0.4% of tweets hit the 140 character limit because the language is more "dense" than others and conveys information in a smaller space. Giving them 280 characters rather than a heftier count-like, say, 10,000-preserves a degree of brevity. It will not give more characters to users tweeting in Japanese, Chinese or Korean, but users who tweet in all others languages could make it into the test group.

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In the hope that it will encourage more people to post, Twitter is doubling the number of characters that some users get for a tweet.

Only four tenths of one percent of Japanese tweets have 140 characters, compared to 9 percent of tweets in English.

Though I hadn't seen any recent scuttlebutt that Twitter might be ready to make this move, the only surprising thing about this it is the timing. I suspect that a secondary explanation given by Twitter's blog post is more meaningful: "When people don't have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and actually have some to spare, we see more people tweeting".

Since it was founded in 2007, the company has limited the number of characters in each post to 140 characters. It includes all languages except Japanese, Korean and Chinese. Proud of how thoughtful the team has been in solving a real problem people have when trying to tweet.

One of the biggest changes in the history of Twitter.

. "That is something we will never change".


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