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Twitter’s character limit is growing

by Justin Herrick | September 27, 2017September 27, 2017 8:00 am PDT

Twitter is better than most platforms when it comes to sharing information. Rather than letting users post endless walls of text, the service has long limited tweets to just 140 characters. You could include a picture, video, or GIF; however, lengthy rambling wasn’t allowed. It’s what helps Twitter remain the go-to place for real-time updates on everything.

But all good things must come to an end. Testing has begun on an increased character limit.

Select users around the world are now able to tweet with double the amount of characters. Twitter’s character limit increase, which is only live for a very limited number of users, takes the magic number from 140 to 280.

The reasoning for the increase is that different languages have varying lengths. What you tweet in English could take up significantly less characters if it was tweeted in Japanese. Twitter points out that Japanese, Korean, and Chinese are among the languages that can convey twice as much information in one character than other popular languages. By doubling the character limit, all languages could benefit and fit more information into a single tweet.

Statistics also back Twitter’s thinking. Of all tweets in English, 9 percent of them hit the 140-character limit. Tweets in Japanese, meanwhile, are much lower at 0.9 percent. The character limit has clearly become a source of frustration, forcing users to abbreviate words or completely rethink a tweet. The goal is to get all users onto the 280-character limit so that thoughts can be shared at their full length.

There is, of course, backlash. Many on Twitter are bashing the company’s decision to double the character limit while still holding out on letting users edit tweets.

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Justin Herrick

Justin is easily attracted to power buttons. His interest in technology started as a child in the 1990s with the original PlayStation, and two...

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