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Why Twitter is experimenting with expanding tweets to 280 characters


Everyone can relate to trying to cram their thoughts in a single tweet with a 140 character limit. Twitter is experimenting with doubling that to 280 characters among a small group of people.

Certain languages, including English, are impacted trying to cram what they want to say in a single 140-character tweet.

According to Twitter’s analysis, there are a number of phonetic languages (like English) that have a harder time fitting into 140 characters as they can in Chinese, Japanese and Korean which can already easily fit into a regular tweet.

Twitter wants everyone in the world to express themselves so they are going to try out a longer 280-character limit.

Available only to a select group of people, this new length will give users more room to move.

“We see that a small percent of Tweets sent in Japanese have 140 characters (only 0.4%). But in English, a much higher percentage of Tweets have 140 characters (9%),” says Aliza Rosen, Twitter product manager.

“Most Japanese tweets are 15 characters while most English Tweets are 34. 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.
“Also, in all markets, when people don’t have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and actually have some to spare, we see more people Tweeting – which is awesome.”

The attraction of Twitter is brevity. Everyone must get to the point in 140 characters or less and Twitter says that is something that will never change.

“We understand since many of you have been Tweeting for years, there may be an emotional attachment to 140 characters – we felt it, too,” Rosen says.
“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.”