Twitter is giving everybody 280 characters. It’s the correct transfer.



Lisa Larson-Walker

Before immediately, solely a small fraction of Twitter customers may ship tweets longer than this sentence, which checks in at precisely 140 characters.

Starting now, nevertheless, Twitter is elevating the character restrict for all customers in most languages (not together with Japanese, Korean, and Chinese) to 280 characters. That means you’ll be capable to ship tweets which are exactly the size of this paragraph.

Just a little wordy, proper? In loosening the character constraint that has lengthy outlined it, Twitter dangers sacrificing a part of what makes it distinctive. In a time of knowledge overload, the platform’s enforced brevity pressured customers to get proper to the purpose. Some writers joked that the 140-character restrict was the most effective editor they’d ever had.

But the corporate makes a persuasive case that the change is for the most effective. In quick: People prefer it.

The transfer to 280 comes lower than two months after Twitter started testing the brand new restrict on a small proportion of Twitter accounts. Twitter says that badysis shortly confirmed its three-part speculation:

  1. It led to fewer folks bumping up towards the character restrict.
  2. It boosted person engagement and satisfaction.
  3. It did not result in considerably longer tweets general.

The first discovering shouldn’t come as a lot of a shock. With extra characters to play with, customers have been extra usually capable of say what they needed to say with out having to edit. The result’s that individuals spend much less time fidgeting with wording—who actually enjoys the method of changing phrases with shorter synonyms or stripping them of their vowels?—and extra time simply saying what they must say. It’s nice that some writers discovered the constraint helpful, however the common social media person doesn’t wish to be Emily Dickinson or E.E. Cummings.

That leads us to the second discovering, which—as I wrote when the check started—is probably going Twitter’s principal objective right here. The firm is determined to get extra folks tweeting, and it’s going to noticeably think about any change that guarantees to perform that. Here’s what Twitter says in regards to the outcomes of the check in its announcement:

In addition to extra Tweeting, individuals who had extra room to Tweet acquired extra engagement (Likes, Retweets, @mentions), acquired extra followers, and spent extra time on Twitter. People within the experiment advised us increased character restrict made them really feel extra happy with how they expressed themselves on Twitter, their capability to search out good content material, and Twitter general.

If that discovering holds up, it may give Twitter one thing constructive to report the following time quarterly earnings roll round.

Finally, there’s the third discovering, which is that individuals with the 280-character restrict don’t truly tweet for much longer, typically, than these confined to 140. That could appear counterintuitive, nevertheless it was on the core of Twitter’s reasoning when it introduced the check in September. It had seen that individuals utilizing Twitter in languages similar to Japanese, the place you may specific extra in 140 characters than you may in English, merely didn’t want their full allotment typically. Now Twitter says comparable precept seems to use in English and different languages: The majority of tweets will nonetheless be shorter than 140 characters, at the same time as some run on to 200, 240, or 280. You can see the change in distribution within the chart under:



That could possibly be partly as a result of we’ve already been conditioned to maintain tweets temporary. It’s conceivable that, over time, the ethic of brevity will erode, and tweets will sprawl in size. That is perhaps unhealthy. But for a corporation that has been attempting for years to broaden its attraction with out a lot success, it’s a danger price taking.

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