Twitter To Drop 140 Character Message Limit

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Written By Mostafa Moradi

Twitter has lifted the block on messages of more than 140 characters in a bid to encourage more users.

In recent months, Twitter has fallen by the wayside as the social media tool of choice as millions of users have taken up Facebook, WhatsApp, Snapchat and other messaging apps.

Feeling cold-shouldered, Twitter has decided to fight back by doubling the character count of Tweets.

Instead of shoehorning your ideas into that 140-character count, you now have 280 characters to put across your message.

The company has suffered a drop in numbers using the service as they have flocked to other apps.

Major cause of frustration

To many, Twitter has become a place for public figures, celebrities and businesses to express their opinions.

Even almost daily usage by US President Donald Trump, who Tweets his thoughts in the early hours most days, has failed to encourage a larger take-up of the service.

Paradoxically, Twitter says the average English Tweet takes only 34 characters, which is well within the old 140-character limit and should mean users do not need the extra space.

Only 9% of Tweets in English take up the full space.

“Most English Tweets are 34 characters long. Our research shows us that the character limit is a major cause of frustration for people Tweeting in English,” said Twitter product manager Aliza Rosen.

Cramming explained

“We want every person around the world to easily express themselves on Twitter, so we’re doing something new: we’re going to try out a longer limit, 280 characters, in languages impacted by cramming.”

Cramming is when users run out of character space for their Tweets. This is not an issue for users messaging in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean, as these languages can express more meaning in fewer characters than English, French or Spanish, she says.

“Twitter is about brevity. It’s what makes it such a great way to see what’s happening. Tweets get right to the point with the information or thoughts that matter. That is something we will never change,” said Rosen.

“We understand since many of you have been Tweeting for years, there may be an emotional attachment to 140 characters – we felt it, too. But we tried this, saw the power of what it will do, and fell in love with this new, still brief, constraint. We are excited to share this today, and we will keep you posted about what we see and what comes next.”

Longer Tweets will be offered to beta-testers before going live across the Twitter network.