Brevity Yields to Pressure as Twitter Extends Character Count to 280

Brevity Yields to Pressure as Twitter Extends Character Count to 280
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People really do have a lot to say about a wide range of things today. As it turns out, all of Twitter’s approximately 330 million monthly active users will have the capability to say their piece up to 280 characters.

The microblogging giant announced on Twitter that it would fully carry out its two-month test to all of its users in most of the languages that it services. All users expect for Japanese, Chinese, and Korean speakers for now. This doubles the amount that can be written in a single tweet from the original 140 characters to 280 characters.

The update rolls out Tuesday and does a 360 on what has helped to make Twitter a signature social platform for right at a decade, teaching people the importance of brevity and finding out that most don’t have the patience to keep their words to a minimum. Despite the nearly doubled character count, Twitter insists that it wants to keep “the speed and brevity that makes Twitter, Twitter.”

Twitter has been testing the increased character limit in beta with just a few users since September. Some people obviously wanted to stick with the theme of brevity and conciseness. But as fate would have it, others pushed for a little more space to share their thoughts. The San Francisco-based company is assured in its decision for now and feels comfortable to release the character boost to all its users over the next few days.

Leanne Gibson, acting managing director of Twitter Canada said in a statement to The Financial Post, “In our testing, 280 characters did have a positive impact on the amount of Likes, Retweets and mentions earned. While we’re not fundamentally changing Twitter in terms of speed and brevity, we strongly feel that our product update will provide more possibility and a better Twitter experience for all users across Canada.”

More likes, retweets, followers, and mentions may bode well for a verbose few. But by moving the bar just a little bit, the company is hoping that more people would actually use Twitter as an outcome. In its testing phase, Twitter said users actually “received more engagement, got more followers, and spent more time on Twitter.” However, for most users, getting use to lengthier text blocks on their timeline may be the biggest adaptation.

That doesn’t seem to be much a problem at least from Twitter’s testing. A company blog post noted, “Only 5% of Tweets sent were longer than 140 characters and only 2% were over 190 characters. As a result, your timeline reading experience should not substantially change, you’ll still see about the same amount of Tweets in your timeline.”

Fundamentally, the change addresses a concern of some that it wasn’t easy enough for them to tweet. Twitter heard and acted, “We’ll continue listening and working to make Twitter easier for everyone while making sure we keep what you love.”


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Danni White
Danni White
Danni White is the senior content manager for Bython Media Inc., a digital media and marketing agency whose web properties include TechFunnel.com and OnlineWhitepapers.com.

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