Twitter now lets (almost) everyone use 280 characters in tweets

Muriel Hammond
November 8, 2017

But Twitter said some of its 330 million users found the 140-character limit frustrating, prompting the tech firm to test longer tweets. When it comes down to "issues with Twitter", not having enough characters was pretty far down the damn list, if it was even on the list at all.

However, Twitter users - or, at least, a lot of them - did not sound off with the same level of enthusiasm when the news broke. During the 280 character test, only one per cent of tweets hit the limit and many tweets stayed below 100 characters, as can be seen in the graph above.

"Historically, 9% of Tweets in English hit the character limit". A heavily retweeted image following the announcement showed Dorsey's long tweet announcing the change edited down to fit in 139 characters.

The change will affect all users apart from those using Japanese, Chinese or Korean versions of the app; this is because they are less likely to need the extra space due to the formation of these alphabets.

But, Twitter said, while obnoxiously long messages weren't flooding users' timelines, the more verbose tweets did let people fire off messages faster and, the company believes, with less agonizing over each message. The change is rolling out "over the next few hours", a Twitter spokesperson told International Business Times Tuesday afternoon.

In addition to more Tweeting, people who had more room to Tweet received more engagement (Likes, Retweets, @mentions), got more followers, and spent more time on Twitter.

Aliza Rosen, product manager at Twitter said: "We - and many of you - were concerned that timelines may fill up with 280 character Tweets, and people with the new limit would always use up the whole space". People did silly (creative!) things like writing just a few characters per line to make their Tweets extra large. "We'll definitely see some of this novelty effect spike again with this week's launch and expect it to resume to normal behavior soon after".

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