All those who tweet must have faced the trouble of fitting their thoughts in the 140-character limit. But, on 26th September 2017, Twitter announced that its going to double the character limit to 280 characters. This means Twitter users will no longer have to cram their tweets in the 140-character limit. This change is still on an experimental basis, but it’s likely to be made available to all Twitter users soon.
Twitter in its announcement said that it has taken this step to stop people from being frustrated by cramming their tweets into a small character frame. The 140-character limit was originally established to reflect the character limit of SMS messages which was limited to 160 characters. This constraint, however, worked well for Twitter as it stimulated creativity and diplomacy and gave it an individualistic stand among other platforms.
According to Twitter, about 9 percent of all tweets today are exactly 140 characters. This is obviously not a coincidence but a compulsion that Twitter users have to abide by, by frequently editing and removing words to fit the character limit. Twitter decided to give users the extra space to “express themselves”. Twitter decided to change this by looking at the way people with different languages tweet. For instance, only 0.4 percent of Japanese tweets use all 140 characters; in English, 9 percent of tweets use the full allocation. Most Japanese tweets take up only 15 characters, while the average English tweet is 34 characters long.
Twitter has tried expanding the character limit in various ways in the past. In 2015, Twitter was about to allow people to post up to 10,000-characters. But Twitter didn’t implement that change. Twitter is known for its “brevity”, hence the 10,000-character limit, somewhat similar to Facebooks’ Newsfeed post would have threatened Twitter’s unique identity.
After years of studying and debating, Twitter has finally come up with a solution. For now, the expanded character limit will now only be available to a small group. But very soon it will be rolled out for everyone. “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”, wrote a Twitter official in a Twitter blog post.