Twitter, one the leading social Micro-Blogging Site, has finally ended its iconic 140-character limit — and giving nearly everyone 280 characters. However, users tweeting in Chinese, Japanese and Korean will still have the original limit. That's because writing in those languages uses fewer characters.
The company says 9 percent of tweets written in English hit the 140-character limit. People end up spending more time editing tweets or don't send them out at all. Twitter hopes that the expanded limit will get more people on Twitter, helping its lackluster user growth. Twitter has been testing the new limit for weeks and has started to roll it out from Tuesday.
The company has been slowly easing restrictions to let people cram more characters into a tweet. It stopped counting polls, photos, videos and other things toward the limit. Even before it did so, users found creative ways to get around the limit. This includes multi-part tweets and screenshots of blocks of text.
Product manager Aliza Rosen said in a blog post that the test showed most people still used 140 characters or fewer, suggesting the fast-moving nature of Twitter will not change. "Our goal was to make this possible while ensuring we keep the speed and brevity that makes Twitter, Twitter," Rosen said. "We're excited to share we’ve achieved this goal and are rolling the change out to all languages where cramming was an issue." Rosen further said that in the first few days of the test many people used the full 280-limit because it was new and novel, "but soon after behavior normalized."
According to Jennifer Grygiel, an assistant professor of communications at Syracuse University, Twitter itself changed the way people communicate in the internet age, doubling the tweet character limit promised to shift it once again. "It will slow down the speed at which users consume information and will allow for more clarity," Grygiel said. "This might not be a bad thing during a time when world leaders are making military threats via the platform."
Many people are skeptical about this increased character limit for the tweets as they feel that raising the character cap would give blowhards and abusers more room to spout. I will gladly give up my extra 140 characters if Twitter will delete Trump's account," author and civil rights commentator DaShanne Stokes said in a tweet fired off from @dashannestokes. Stokes said Twitter's move gives Trump "a bigger weapon with which to hurt more people."
Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said that longer test tweets got tended to prompt more engagement by others using the service. "In addition to more Tweeting, people who had 280 characters received more Likes, Retweets, @mentions, Followers, and were more satisfied with Twitter. So, you’ll be getting 280 too -- enjoy!" Stone tweeted.
Twitter's character limit was created so that tweets could fit into a single text message, back when many people were using texts to receive tweets. But now, most people use Twitter through its mobile app; the 140-character limit is no longer a technical constraint but nostalgia. It must be noted that the Twitter became a public company in 2013, has never reported a profit, even though it has built a loyal base of celebrities, journalists and political figures, including prolific tweeter Trump.
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