Twitter to expand 280-character tweets

Two months' later, Twitter has decided that everyone can use 280 characters in tweets, but in response to inevitable criticism about longer tweets relieving Twitter of the brevity it once prided itself on, the company reckons that the changes to users' timelines won't be that significant. When it comes down to "issues with Twitter", not having enough characters was pretty far down the damn list, if it was even on the list at all. Regardless, that's precisely what two German Twitter users did recently. However, in a blog post published on Tuesday (7 November) the company was quick to assuage its community, saying that only 5% of tweets sent by users selected for testing were longer than 140 characters and that just 2% were over 190 characters. Long-form tweeting is now the standard for everyone, and the changes are in the process of rolling out to all users.

After enabling 280 characters on a small number of accounts, Twitter says that only 1% of people hit the limit. Twitter hopes that the expanded limit will get more people tweeting more, helping its lackluster user growth. Most tweets still hover around 50 characters.

Twitter says this often results in lots of time spent editing and, at times, abandoning tweets before sending.

Starting from this evening, the character limit will be incresed to 280 characters.

Users writing in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean will still be limited to 140 characters.

Gartner analyst Brian Blau said in September that he doubts that the change will have a major effect on what people post to Twitter.

In addition to more Tweeting, people who had more room to Tweet received more engagement (Likes, Retweets, @mentions), got more followers, and spent more time on Twitter.

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.

"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", said Rozen.

  • Joe Gonzales