Twitter has revealed it’s testing increased character limits for some users, upending a strict eleven-year adherence to the 140 character barrier. Right now, some punters are being given 280 to play with.
In a blog post (which, quite handily, was not restrained to 140 characters), the social media platform explained the shake-up of its defining feature was driven by data suggesting some users are put off Tweeting by the longstanding restriction.
According to the platform, 9% of tweets in English bash against the 140 character mark, and that statistic apparently suggests users would benefit from increased character allowances.
Twitter also took note of how different languages function on the platform. Apparently inspired the ability of Korean, Chinese, and Japanese users to jam more information into their tweets by virtue of their written languages, Twitter says it’s investigating what happens when other users are given the latitude to convey the same amount of information.
The test aims to determine if more people will actually use Twitter, amid sluggish user growth compared to the other social media monoliths.
That’s all well and good, but the platform is also aware of how attached some people are to the idiosyncratic limit.
“Twitter is about brevity,” the blog post says.
It’s what makes it such a great way to see what’s happening. Tweets get right to the point with the information or thoughts that matter. That is something we will never change.
We understand since many of you have been Tweeting for years, there may be an emotional attachment to 140 characters – we felt it, too. But we tried this, saw the power of what it will do, and fell in love with this new, still brief, constraint.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey is excited about it, but some users, uh, aren’t. Amid concerns that the upped limit will dilute the odd, insular form of communication the platform has fostered, some users are also mad about the lack of an edit feature. And the fact out-and-out bigots can, and do, use the platform to spew their bile.
139 characters pic.twitter.com/WkfdXL8oLh
— Caitlin Kelly (@caitlin__kelly) September 26, 2017
Edit has 4 characters. Can we start there instead?
— Ian Petchenik (@petchmo) September 26, 2017
the only “character” here is you jack!! what a funny guy!!! still hasn’t banned the literal nazis on this website!!!
— ♫do ya have to, do yahave to let it ligma♫ (@bonerman_inc) September 26, 2017
On the plus side: more space for shitposting.
OH HOLY SHIT. I figured out what we should do with the new 140 characters.
´•._.•´¯`•._.•´Forum Signatures Are Back Baby`•._.•´¯`•.¸¸.•´
— austin walker (@austin_walker) September 26, 2017
me tweeting with 280 characters:
usedd ta give a d*mn 💯😓
but i NEVA gave a FUCK 🤙🏽🤣
— jaboukie (@jaboukie) September 26, 2017
We’ll let you know if the change eventually rolls out to all users. Maybe we’ll even do it in a full 240 characters; if not, ttyl, bbs. x.