After an initial test back in September that resulted in a favorable outcome, Twitter today announced it’s rolling out the ability to send 280-character tweets to all users of the platform. The feature is aimed at making sending tweets easier without the need to constantly edit down a tweet to fit it in the previous 140-character limit.
“During the first few days of the test, many people Tweeted the full 280 limit because it was new and novel,” said Aliza Rosen, product manager at Twitter. “But soon after behavior normalized. We saw when people needed to use more than 140 characters, they Tweeted more easily and more often. But importantly, people Tweeted below 140 most of the time and the brevity of Twitter remained.”
“Your timeline reading experience should not substantially change”
This is something many users fretted upon. Whether extending the tweet character limit to 280 would result in a longer Twitter feeds was unknown before today, but according to Twitter, it doesn’t do very much.
“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. Only 5% of Tweets sent were longer than 140 characters and only 2% were over 190 characters. As a result, your timeline reading experience should not substantially change, you’ll still see about the same amount of Tweets in your timeline. For reference, in the timeline, Tweets with an image or poll usually take up more space than a 190 character Tweet.”
Twitter also says that when people used the old 140-character limit, 9 percent of users were hitting the mark. Meanwhile, where 280 characters were available, only 1 percent were. This pretty much means your timeline shouldn’t get too long with the new character extension if you were worried.
It’s worth noting that while the new limit is being rolled out to basically everyone, those who speak Chinese, Japanese, and Korean won’t see the change since those who speak in these tongues, historically, don’t attempt to go over the 140-character limit.
Still, this is a pretty interesting move by Twitter. It’s historic since the platform has never seen an upgrade like this in its history. Now, the question remains; what will be your first 280-character tweet?