Good News for twitter users: Twitter trials 280 characters tweet

Social media site Twitter is trialling longer character limits to help users “easily express themselves”. Twitter currently limits tweets to 140 characters, but has doubled that to 280 characters for a small group of users.

The current character limit was “a major cause of frustration” for some users, the firm said in a blog post.

The firm has been suffering from slowing growth and the shift could be one way for the firm to widen its appeal and attract new users.

“Trying to cram your thoughts into a Tweet – we’ve all been there, and it’s a pain,” Twitter product manager Aliza Rosen wrote.

Ms Rosen said the longer character limit was being tested in all languages bar Japanese, Chinese and Korean which she said could convey more information in a single character.

“We understand since many of you have been Tweeting for years, there may be an emotional attachment to 140 characters – we felt it, too.

“But we tried this, saw the power of what it will do, and fell in love with this new, still brief, constraint,” she said.

The decision was motivated by research carried out by the social network that showed you can convey double the amount of information per character in languages like Japanese, Korean and Chinese than you can in languages like English, Spanish, Portuguese or French.

“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 Twitter product manager Aliza Rosen in a blogpost.

The team found that only 0.4% of tweets sent in Japanese hit the 140-character limit, while a much higher percentage of tweets in English (9%) hit the limit.

“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,” Rosen added.

She acknowledged that some people have an “emotional attachment” to 140 characters – “we felt it, too” – but that when the team tried it they “fell in love with this new, still brief, constraint”.

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