If you are a grammar Nazi, you would know the pain of having to omit punctuation and shorten correct spellings to cramp tweets in 140 characters! For all those Twitterverse members who have been struggling with the existing character restraints, Twitter has come to your rescue.
In an official announcement, Twitter is set to launch a test project allowing tweet character limit to be expanded to 280 characters, doubling the existing character limit!
The idea is to address and redress the ‘frustration’ of many users while having to abide by 140 characters and an effort to amplify its reach, according to a TOI report.
The very first tweet with the expanded character limit was tweeted by Twitter’s chief executive Jack Dorsey:
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
He emphasises how despite the new character limit being a ‘small change’ for the users is a ‘big move’ for the social network.
“140 was an arbitrary choice… Proud of how thoughtful the team has been in solving a real problem people have when trying to tweet,” he tweeted.
The expanded character limit, since it’s a pilot project will be available to a “small group” of users, before Twitter rolls it out to the whole of Twitterverse.
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
Explaining another major reason for the change, product manager Aliza Rosen and software engineer Ikuhiro Ihara blogged, “We’re doing something new: we’re going to try out a longer limit, 280 characters, in languages impacted by cramming.”
Earlier on, Twitter had planned to leave the old limit, for languages like Japanese, Chinese, and Korean, the reason being, data displayed written characters in the three languages packed more than enough words in the old character limit.
“Our research shows us that the character limit is a major cause of frustration for people tweeting in English, but it is not for those tweeting in Japanese,” they said.
The idea is to also expand the market to people who don’t want to cram their thoughts into 140 characters.
“We understand since many of you have been Tweeting for years, there may be an emotional attachment to 140 characters… But we tried this, saw the power of what it will do, and fell in love with this new, still brief, constraint,” they said.
While Twitter’s current active base is 328 million, Facebook has over two billion users, and Facebook-owned Instagram has over 800 million.
Whether the new character limit will redeem Twitter and boost its growth is still a mystery, but it’s definitely a step to get people to tweet more.