Twitter doubling character limit to 280 for users
Twitter announced Tuesday that it will officially double the number of characters available to users for tweets.
The company explained that it thought the move – first tested among a smaller group of users in September – would be helpful given that 9 percent of tweets hit the previous 140-character limit.
Avid tweeters such as President Trump were often forced to send multiple tweets to express their thoughts on a single subject given the constrictions of the previous limit.
According to research Twitter conducted, just 1 percent of the 280-character limit tweets hit the new max.
Twitter explained after testing the 280-character limit that “people needed to use more than 140 characters, they Tweeted more easily and more often.”
The company also preemptively addressed concerns that the structure of Twitter would change from the new character limit.
“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. But that didn’t happen,” Twitter said.
“As a result, your timeline reading experience should not substantially change, you’ll still see about the same amount of Tweets in your timeline.”
Twitter said that the new character limit won’t be accessible to Japanese, Korean or Chinese-language tweets.
“In fact, these languages have always been able to say more with their Tweets because of the density of their writing systems,” Twitter explained in a post.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey had called the original 140-character limit an arbitrary result of the 160-character limit for text messaging.
The original character limit was born from Twitter fitting its tweets into SMS’s 160-character limit back when the company was founded in 2006 and still relied on text messages as a way for users to send and see tweets. The remaining 20 were reserved for a user’s Twitter ID.
The company has been searching for new ways to increase engagement and attract users as its stalled growth has disappointed investors on Wall Street over the past several years. Twitter has also made moves into live streaming for sports and other major events in attempt to expand its business.
The company’s stock has reported some success in recent quarters, and is trading just short of its 52-week high of $20.18 a share.
Updated: 4:47 p.m.