Everyone Is Getting 280-Character Tweets Soon


Twitter announced Tuesday it will roll out a 280-character limit for single tweets after testing the option among a handful of users since September. It became a hallmark of the service - an encouragement to craft short, sweet messages and contribute to the free-flow of conversation that became Twitter's main identifying feature. Though most Twitter users have long since adapted to expressing their thoughts in a more concise manner, the social media giant clearly feels there's room for improvement. Others just want an edit button already. According to product manager Aliza Rosen, "We saw when people needed to use more than 140 characters, they Tweeted more easily and more often". Long-form tweeting is now the standard for everyone, and the changes are in the process of rolling out to all users.

Twitter Canada noted, however, whether a user has access to this new character allowance depends on which language they're using in their tweet.

Before the tests - which were limited to a few users, but easy to participate in thanks to third-party tools - roughly 9 percent of tweets ran right up against the 140-character limit. This means people probably spent time editing down their tweets or not sending them out at all. Those languages can convey twice as much information in less space, so tweets will remain at 140 characters, Twitter said. There has been a wave of criticism of the move to 280 characters, with some tweeters claiming they will leave the site.

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The company did not say when it would start allowing users to post 280-character tweets. Only five percent of users went above 140 characters during the test, and only 2 percent ever went north of 190 characters.

But it noticed that people were giving up on Tweets when they couldn't cram the right words together. It was a temporary effect and didn't last long.

"We - and many of you - were concerned that timelines may fill up with 280-character tweets, and people with the new limit would always use up the whole space".