Twitter has announced that it will officially expand the number of characters allowed per tweet from 140 to 280 ‘so every person around the world could express themselves easily’. The character count is being changed for the first time since the company was founded in 2006 and will be implemented in 40 different languages.
Twitter expands character limit to 280 Photo Credit: Reuters/ Channel 2 News
Twitter announced yesterday (Tuesday) that it will be doubling the number of characters users can tweet; tweets will now contain 280 characters instead of the original 140 characters. The update will apply to all users in 40 different languages.
A few months ago, Twitter began testing the 280-character tweets for a limited user group. “In September, we launched a test that expanded the 140-character limit so every person around the world could express themselves easily in a tweet,” said Twitter’s product manager Aliza Rosen. “Our goal was to make this possible while ensuring we keep the speed and brevity that makes Twitter, Twitter.”
Responding to concerns that Twitter feeds will now be longer and more frustrating to navigate through, the company said that in the experimental group, most people did not take advantage of the maximum number of characters- only 5% of the tweets exceeded the original 140-character limit and only 2% used more than 190 characters. “During the first few days of the test, many people tweeted the full 280 limit because it was new and novel,” Rosen said, “but soon after behavior normalized.”
The update will not apply to the Japanese, Korean or Chinese languages. The reasoning, according to the company, is that in these languages you can convey more information in a smaller amount of characters.
The number of characters per tweet has not changed since the company was founded in 2006. The 140 characters were not arbitrarily chosen; the founders wanted the tweets to match text messages, which were limited to 160 characters at the time.