In case you missed it, Twitter just recently announced that they’re testing a new 280 character limit on the platform and the 140 we’ve all grown accustomed to might be going away — for good.
They’re raising the character limit and they have all the statistical reasons why it’s better for you and the network. How will the change affect users and marketers alike?
Read on and see how you can use this new development to change your marketing approaches and grow your brand.
Twitter is Raising the Character Limit from 140 to 280
Twitter is experimenting with raising the character limit to 280. Their data shows that 9% of all tweets in English are hitting the 140-character limit and that this limit is the major source of frustration for those tweeting in that language. In contrast, only 0.4% of people who use Chinese, Korean, or Japanese share the feeling.
Can’t fit your Tweet into 140 characters? 🤔
We’re trying something new with a small group, and increasing the character limit to 280! Excited about the possibilities? Read our blog to find out how it all adds up. 👇https://t.co/C6hjsB9nbL
— Twitter (@Twitter) September 26, 2017
Thoughts expressed in Chinese, Korean, and Japanese only take up about half the space needed to express the same thoughts in English. Thus, the increase shall apply, for now, to English and virtually all other non-Asian languages that Twitter identified as “impacted by cramming.”
This increase is not available to all users yet but Twitter envisions more people tweeting with a 280-character limit, and so the change may be likely to roll out to everyone soon.
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Twitter’s Development Over The Years
When Twitter was launched in 2006, the 140-character limit was inspired by the technical restriction of 160 characters of SMS technology. The extra 20 characters were reserved by Twitter for usernames and other unknowns, leaving 140 for the tweet message itself.
By the end of 2015, Twitter briefly toyed with the idea of increasing the tweet limit to 10,000 characters. In the end, the company decided to exclude media attachments from the word count instead and they retained the 140 limit.
So, increasing the limit now is indeed, to take the words of its CEO, a big move for Twitter.
This is a small change, but a big move for us. 140 was an arbitrary choice based on the 160 character SMS limit. Proud of how thoughtful the team has been in solving a real problem people have when trying to tweet. And at the same time maintaining our brevity, speed, and essence! https://t.co/TuHj51MsTu
— jack (@jack) September 26, 2017
What the Twitterverse Thinks of the Change
If you’ll look up the subject of character limits on Twitter, you’ll see that those in favor of the old 140 limit are winning the polls, even though there seem to be more people tweeting about how they want to have the new 280-character limit.
It’s interesting how many of those who don’t like the change aren’t verbalizing their opinion with a tweet while those in favor are all over the platform. Those who aren’t in the test run are worried about not getting the increase. Many are even attaching a certain prestige to getting the increase, and it has become the new status symbol on Twitter.
— Ken from Chicago (@KenFromChicago) October 14, 2017
Indeed, those who are in the test run are mostly happy and believe it makes them elite users of the platform.
— Emilie Sims (@emiliesims) October 13, 2017
Many others can’t wait to have more space to express themselves.
— Rogue Barkeep #StayHome (@roguebarkeep) October 24, 2017
So, while these users clearly thought the increase was awesome, some have other ideas — and many made fun of Twitter for the change.
Image credit: The Guardian
How the 280 Character Limit Will Change Twitter
It’s a move that’s seen by many as an attempt to revive Twitter, its declining users, and profits from advertising.
More users equals more advertisers, except Twitter hasn’t been growing and its monthly active users, in fact, have stagnated at 328 million for two consecutive quarters. An increase in users will keep the platform thriving and Twitter admitted as much when it said they expected more people to tweet with the 280 limit.
That’s all nice and good, but that means deviating from the core design feature that defines Twitter for what it is. A product confusion will likely ensue. Similarly, we’ll see the widespread use of tweet “novels” all over the platform from people who’ll abuse the longer character limit.
I just saw a 20-tweet thread where each tweet used 280 characters. pic.twitter.com/RBGUuqqw0x
— D.B. Anderson (@DBAnderson1) October 5, 2017
This will get people in the habit of dismissing longer tweets as spam and if marketers aren’t careful, their tweets will be ignored before they’re ever read.
So, while the 280-character limit gives marketers more real estate to play with, it’s also a double-edged sword.
Help counter the effect by expanding your Twitter reach. Run follower growth campaigns and consider including bought Twitter Followers in your strategies.
Bought followers can boost your campaign results without swelling your budget. Because a high follower count can make you appear influential, your bought followers can help you attract more attention. So, you’ll attract a large following in less time and with less money.
The increase in character limit is also a cause of concern for people who are aware of President Trump’s Twitter habits.
Hopefully, the increase in limit will not also incite a nuclear war by encouraging President Trump to tweet more policy decisions and vengeful threats, and for the whole world to see. If he can express so much with 140, imagine what he can do with 280.
— Darren Walsh Puns (@DarrenWalshPuns) October 20, 2017
140 Out, 280 In!
The 140-character limit is probably going to be a thing of the past, unless this is another fake out. For now, at least, it looks like it’s really happening.
The change will impact not just users but marketers and advertisers, too. Hopefully, the effect will not have a major effect on politics — and world peace.
The increase will give people more characters to express themselves with, and it’s hoped to give the platform more users and advertisers to keep the business afloat. However, whether Twitter is making a good or bad move with the increase, and whether the extra space is good for users or not, only time will tell.
Do you need all 280 characters to express your thoughts on Twitter, or are you content with 140 like some people? Share your thoughts below!