Twitter Testing 280 Character Tweets

The Twitter character limit has always been a thing. Except in countries where the written word makes use of an alphabet where characters can convey more meaning than mere letters can, like Japan, China & Korea.

People have been lamenting the character limit (designed with the old SMS character limit in mind) for almost as long as there has been a Twitter, but while “longer tweets” have always been on everybodies wish list, there didn’t seem to be any driving urgency on Twitters part to implement them.

Until now.

More Tweets When Character Limit Not Reached

Twitter announced at the end of last month that they would be trialling a new tweet format, with a 280 character limit. Double the number of characters. Users mostly rejoiced. What I found interesting though was a little bit of info Twitter slipped into the release:

…in all markets, when people don’t have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and actually have some to spare, we see more people Tweeting…

Faced with declining growth and usage stats, Twitter is still working hard at monetising the twitterverse more effectively. And they noticed that people tweeted more, if they didn’t have to worry about the character limit. And suddenly, select users were offered a 280-character Twitter trial.

Could it be that they hope to energise Twitter users by allowing longer tweets?

Mixed Results

What’s really interesting though, is that faced with something that they thought that most people wanted, it turned out they maybe didn’t care that much after all. Some said they’d prefer other issues were fixed or addressed better instead, and many made jokes about the new limit.

All that said though, it’s likely that the new character limit will become official and permanent, and while I don’t really use Twitter much myself, in principle I’m not opposed to it.

However, this may be because I’m frequently accused of writing too much myself…