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After testing out its expanded 280-character limit for tweets among selected users over the last month, Twitter has now confirmed that 280-character tweets will be made available to all users. The longer form of tweets has received a mixed reception, but Twitter has somewhat self-consciously justified the expanded roll out with a new set of data and research methodology points to help underline why they are doing so.
First and foremost, Twitter says that users are engaging with the longer tweets more. They also say that the longer text option has alleviated a key problem – that users regularly run into the length limit. “Historically, 9% of Tweets in English hit the character limit. This reflects the challenge of fitting a thought into a Tweet, often resulting in lots of time spent editing and even at times abandoning Tweets before sending. With the expanded character count, this problem was massively reduced – that number dropped to only 1% of tweets running up against the limit.
Twitter says this demonstrates that having more characters, makes it easier for people to fit what they want to say into a tweet, rather than cutting down their thoughts – which in turn, leads to them tweeting more often.
“People who had more room to Tweet received more engagement, got more followers, and spent more time on Twitter. People in the experiment told us that a higher character limit made them feel more satisfied with how they expressed themselves on Twitter, their ability to find good content, and Twitter overall.”
Of course, the next key concern is that we will soon see our Twitter timelines flooded with the longer, sometimes awkward looking, tweets. But again, Twitter has moved to reassure people that likely won’t happen:
“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 noted, the whole announcement is very self-conscious, with Twitter moving to reassure concerned users that everything is going to be fine – better than ever even.
So, what are your thoughts on the new character limit, let us know.