April 23, 2018

280 characters on Twitter

29 September 2017, 12:50 | Yvette Williams

Twitter doubling limit to 280 characters for some users

Twitter announced Tuesday

The new limit will be tested out on a small subset of Twitter users and will not include Chinese, Japanese, and Korean languages, because it's possible to convey more meaning in fewer characters in these languages.

That's vital for the social media company, which has been under pressure from Wall Street to jump-start its user growth, which has stagnated globally at 328 million this year. People jokingly said that the Japanese people could easily fit a light novel in a 280 character tweet.

Twitter's defining feature has always been brevity: 140 characters was all you got. The company raised concerns of a dwindling popularity as a result of its tough stance on the number of characters a tweet should have.

Twitter observed that 9% of tweets in English hit the 140-character limit vs. only 0.4% in Japanese, which suggested that certain languages could benefit from having more available characters for tweets.

Where will Dwyane Wade end up next?
Wade joining the opponent that beat his Miami team in the 2014 NBA Finals would be a fascinating marriage of player and system. His 45 3-pointers last season in Chicago were his most since 2010-11, but Wade shot just 31.0 percent on those attempts.

But Dorsey's missive was emblematic of precisely what many Twitter users fear about a higher character limit: more words, less wit. User growth was flat in Q2 2017, making it especially important for Twitter to increase time spent among the users it now has. Since announcing the 280-character test, Twitter has erupted with tweetstorms among disgruntled users who condemn or mock the move. What are the implications for advertisers, especially those struggling to cope with the need to disclose material connections to endorsers, qualifications to advertising claims, and other information in their marketing tweets?

The lackluster financial performance belies the outsized influence the company has on culture, news and now potentially the future of humankind thanks to Twitter's most famous user, President Trump. Twitter hopes the new changes will make it easier and enjoyable for everyone to tweet.

Twitter's biggest challenge is growing its user base among real people - and not the bots and anonymous trolls that clutter it with objectionable material. Knowing this fact, a lot of hassle has been created among the users who are also willing to try out the new 280 characters feature.

"T$3 his is just how Twitter is in Japan, and we love it just as much as you do in the U.S.", he writes.

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