Twitter has decided to give everyone 280 characters to play with. So by the time you read this you should have the option to write tweets of up to 280 characters in length. Why? Because 140 characters is just so 2006. And Twitter needs a miracle if it wants to survive another winter.
Twitter began life in 2006 as a way for people to send messages to each other within a small group. At the time the messages were sent via SMS, which has a limit of 160 characters. Which is why tweets have always been limited to 140 characters (the other 20 reserved for usernames).
But the times, they are a-changin’…
Twitter Now Lets You Tweet Longer Thoughts
Twitter has been testing the longer 280-character limit since September. So Twitter has, for a couple of months now, endured a class system even beyond the Verified vs. Non-Verified segregation. Thankfully, that is now coming to an end, with everyone getting 280 characters.
In a blog post titled “Tweeting Made Easier”, Twitter explains why it’s rolling the new longer limit out to everyone. Essentially, while the guinea pigs tested the longer limits early on, they then settled down into tweeting normally, just with extra room to express themselves if they saw fit.
Furthermore, Twitter thinks that by allowing longer tweets, people will spend less time having to edit down their thoughts. This will allow them to tweet more often and experience higher engagement levels. So, if this all checks out, everyone’s a winner. But especially Twitter.
280 characters for everyone?
It would have been easier just teaching Donald Trump how to spell.
— Larry the Cat (@Number10cat) November 7, 2017
The one exception (or three exceptions) to this rule are that people tweeting in Japanese, Korean, and Chinese will be stuck with 140 characters. But this is purely because “these languages have always been able to say more with their Tweets because of the density of their writing systems”.
Short and Snappy Snippets of Information
I have been on Twitter a long time, and consider myself a Twitter purist. So I’m not convinced that increasing the character limit for tweets is a good thing. If you want to post essays, try Medium instead. But Twitter should be reserved for short and snappy snippets of information. IMHO.
Are you on Twitter? If so, how do you feel about the character limit being raised from 140 to 280? Will this improve Twitter? Make it worse? Or not make any difference? Would you have preferred Twitter to change something else instead? Please let us know in the comments below!
Image Credit: Andreas Eldh via Flickr