Reason Twitter increased character limit from 140 to 280


Twitter is giving you more characters to express yourself. The social media platform increased its characters limit from 140 to 280 with effect from November 7, 2017.

According to Aliza Rosen, Product Manager for Twitter: “Trying to cram your thoughts into a Tweet – we’ve all been there, and it’s a pain”.

Earlier in the year, Twitter carried out a research which shows that the character limit is a major cause of frustration for English-speaking users while it is not a problem for the Japanese. “This is because in languages like Japanese, Korean, and Chinese you can convey about double the amount of information in one character as you can in many other languages, like English, Spanish, Portuguese, or French,” said Rosen.

Understanding that Twitter is all about brevity, the company however believes that 280 words will help users better to express themselves, without editing sentences and using abbreviations often. However, Twitter users are emotional about the change and believe that the app will become cheesy when more words are used. People are expressing their disappointment at the change, which Twitter called: “new, still brief, constraint”.

English novelist and author of Harry Porter, JK Rowling’s reaction was devoid of optimism.

She said: “Twitter’s destroyed its USP. The whole point, for me, was how inventive people could be within that concise framework.”  The entrepreneur and public speaker, Scott Eddy lamented: “Hey #Twitter, instead of giving us 280 characters, how about giving us a few more characters in the bio?”.

In a mocking tweet, a South-African user, Lwazilwaphesheya K. said: “Twitter went from 140 characters to 280.Then from 20 characters in the space given for a name to 50 characters. Next thing we’ll be sending PDF’s up in here.”

Here in Nigeria, Twitter users and social media influencers are also complaining over the extension of Twitter characters to 280 words. In a tweet, popular blogger and influencer Japheth Omojuwa wrote: “Twitter was confused on the business side but got the technical side right. With 280 characters, convergence on confusion is imminent.”

From the research carried out by Twitter, only 0.4 per cent of tweets written in Japanese exhausted the 140 characters space; while nine per cent of tweets sent out in English exhausted the same space. The implication is that more of people who tweet in English need more than 140 characters as more characters are needed to compose words.

In the month of September when the 280-character extension was tested with few users, Twitter discovered some advantages. Some of the findings are: more space makes it easier for people to express themselves; users are still able to keep twitter’s brevity; and more room to tweet results in more engagement.

In response to users’ outrage, Alan Rosen wrote last week: ”We’ll continue listening and working to make Twitter easier for everyone while making sure we keep what you love.”


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