Following just over a month of testing the longer Tweet limit with a small group of users, Twitter is now dropping its 140-character limit and is instead rolling out a 280-character limit. This means people will now have double the amount of characters to say what they want on Twitter.
However, this expanded character limit is not available to everyone. People who tweet in Korean, Japanese and Chinese will keep the 140-character limit that has been in place since Twitter’s initial launch in 2006. This is because in these languages they are able to convey much more information in a single character. Research shows that 9% of all Tweets in English hit the 140-character limit, compared to only 0.4 of all Tweets in Japanese hit the 140-character limit.
Twitter hopes that this huge change to the site will help users to gain more followers and engage more with others. The increased amount of character should make it much easier to fit their thoughts into a Tweet, making it much easier and faster to say that they want to.
One of Twitter’s fears during its testing period was that all users who were able to use 280-characters would always hit the character limit. However, this didn’t happen. Just 5 per cent of the tweets they sent were longer than 140 characters, 2 per cent went over 190 characters, and the site said its “brevity” remained. This would mean that users timeline reading experience shouldn’t drastically change.
The trial period also showed that the small group of users with who had more room to Tweet received more engagement (likes, retweets, mentions), got more followers and spent more time on Twitter. These people said that “the higher character limit made them feel more satisfied with how they expressed themselves on Twitter, their ability to find good content and Twitter overall”.