Twitter is no more the 140-character micro-blogging site. The company has officially extended the tweet character limit to 280. In September, when the company first announced it planned to increase the character limit, not everyone welcomed the decision.
Users against extending the limit stated that lengthy tweets would fill up the timeline reducing readability. Others stated that Twitter is doing what no one asked for, and is shifting the focus from other serious issues such as cyber bullying and below-the-belt comments.
Twitter, on the other hand, notes that the decision to increase the character limit would enable users to be more expressive.
“More space makes it easier for people to fit thoughts in a tweet, so they could say what they want to say, and send Tweets faster than before,” the micro-blogging company said in a blog post.
Twitter said that contrary to what many believed that users would be using up the whole space, it actually hardly ever happened. During the test period, only 5% of tweets exceeded 140 characters, while just 2% exceeded 190 characters.
However, those who got the 280-character limit saw increased followers, higher engagement and spent more time on Twitter, the company said in a blog post.
Also, during the experiment, these users told the company that they were more satisfied with how they expressed themselves on Twitter, and their ability to find good content and so on. They spent less time editing their tweets, making them able to send their tweets faster than before.
Addressing the concerns that the timeline will get loaded with bulky tweets, Twitter product manager Aliza Rosen said that since not many use the entire tweet character limit, the experience would not change much.
“As a result, your timeline reading experience should not substantially change, you’ll still see about the same amount of tweets in your timeline,” Rosen said.
The San Francisco-based company noted that the extended limit would be applied to all “languages except Japanese, Korean and Chinese where writers do not feel character bound because of the density of their writing systems.”
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Allan Bangirana is a freelance writer for Newslibre and Spur Magazine. He is also the co-founder of the Innovware project.
He is a freelance consultant passionate about tech, programming, games and entertainment.