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AP / The days of Twitter Inc limiting messages to 140 characters, a signature of the social network since its launch in 2006, may be numbered.
Twitter is experimenting with doubling the length of a tweet from 140 characters to 280 characters.
The company wrote in a blog post on Tuesday it was rolling out 280-character limit tweets to “a small group” of users who tweet in languages that may have had issues with trying to fit everything they want to say.
“We understand since many of you have been Tweeting for years, there may be an emotional attachment to 140 characters – we felt it, too,” Twitter product manager Aliza Rosen wrote. “But we tried this, saw the power of what it will do, and fell in love with this new, still brief, constraint.”
Shares of Twitter rose more than 1 percent in extended trading following the news, after declining more than 2 percent during the regular session.
Japanese, Korean and Chinese are excluded from the expanded tweets because the characters allow people to say a lot more with fewer characters. For example, Twitter saw that only 0.4 percent of Japanese character tweets have 140 characters, but 9 percent of all English letter tweets use the entire space. The average Japanese character tweet is 15 characters, but English writers use 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,” Rosen said. “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!”
Twitter did not answer whether President Donald Trump will be given access to the longer tweets, but said the feature is going out to a “random sample,” so it’s certainly possible.
A tweet from CEO Jack Dorsey shows what the new character limit looks like.
This is a small change, but a big move for us. 140 was an arbitrary choice based on the 160 character SMS limit. Proud of how thoughtful the team has been in solving a real problem people have when trying to tweet. And at the same time maintaining our brevity, speed, and essence! https://t.co/TuHj51MsTu
— jack (@jack) September 26, 2017