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Twitter Rolls Out 280 Character Limit Experiment


Twitter is known for its 140 character limit – yet some users find it challenging to cram all their thoughts into a Tweet. Interestingly, this isn't a problem everywhere people Tweet. Those who Tweet in English, for example, edit their tweet down so it fits, or some remove a word that conveys an important meaning or emotion. Some decide not to send the Tweet at all. However, some users don’t have the same problem, such as those who Tweet in in languages like Japanese, Korean, and Chinese; where you can convey about double the amount of information in one character as you can in many other languages, like English, Spanish, Portuguese, or French.

Aliza Rosen, Product Manager, Twitter, stated, “We want every person around the world to easily express themselves on Twitter, so we're doing something new: we're going to try out a longer limit, 280 characters, in languages impacted by cramming — which is all except Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.”


Twitter is rolling out the new character limit to selected users worldwide, starting today. Although this new feature is only available to a small group right now, Twitter wants to be transparent about why they are excited to try this. Here are some of their findings from a recent study done by Twitter:
  • Twitter sees that a small percent of Tweets sent in Japanese have 140 characters (only 0.4%). But in English, a much higher percentage of Tweets have 140 characters (9%). 
  • Most Japanese Tweets are 15 characters while most English Tweets are 34. 
  • The research shows us that the character limit is a major cause of frustration for people Tweeting in English, but it is not for those Tweeting in Japanese.
  • However, in all markets, there are more people Tweeting when they don’t have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and even have some to spare.

“Although we feel confident about our data and the positive impact this change will have, we want to try it out with a small group of people before we make a decision to launch to everyone.What matters most is that this works for our community – we will be collecting data and gathering feedback along the way. We’re hoping fewer Tweets run into the character limit, which should make it easier for everyone to Tweet,” added Aliza.

Twitter is about brevity. It's what makes it such a great way to see what's happening. Tweets get right to the point with the information or thoughts that matters. That is something we will never change.
A lot of users have been Tweeting for years, and Twitter understands that there may be an emotional attachment to the 140 character limit. However, the new 280 character limit shows the power of what it can do – giving users more room to express themselves while still being brief and concise.

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