Twitter is no more the 140-character micro-blogging site. The company has officially extended the tweet character limit to 280. In September, when the company first announced it planned to increase the character limit, not everyone welcomed the decision.
What do some users fear?
Users against extending the limit stated that lengthy tweets would fill up the timeline reducing readability. Others stated that Twitter is doing what no one asked for, and is shifting the focus from other serious issues such as cyber bullying and below-the-belt comments.
Twitter, on the other hand, notes that the decision to increase the character limit would enable users to be more expressive. “More space makes it easier for people to fit thoughts in a tweet, so they could say what they want to say, and send Tweets faster than before,” the micro-blogging company said in a blog post.
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Twitter said that contrary to what many believed that users would be using up the whole space, it actually hardly ever happened. During the test period, only 5% of tweets exceeded 140 characters, while just 2% exceeded 190 characters. However, those who got the 280-character limit saw increased followers, higher engagement and spent more time on Twitter, the company said in a blog post. Also, during the experiment, these users told the company that they were more satisfied with how they expressed themselves on Twitter, and their ability to find good content and so on. They spent less time editing their tweets, making them able to send their tweets faster than before.
Addressing the concerns that the timeline will get loaded with bulky tweets, Twitter product manager Aliza Rosen said that since not many use the entire tweet character limit, the experience would not change much.
“As a result, your timeline reading experience should not substantially change, you’ll still see about the same amount of tweets in your timeline,” Rosen said.
Trump uses extended tweet character limit
The San Francisco-based company noted that the extended limit would be applied to all “languages except Japanese, Korean and Chinese where writers do not feel character bound because of the density of their writing systems.”
Shortly after Twitter’s announcement, U.S. President Donald Trump took the opportunity to use the extended character limit. Earlier, Trump used to post in multiple threads when Twitter was just 140 characters.
However, in his first post-140-limit tweet, Trump used 216 characters: “Getting ready to make a major speech to the National Assembly here in South Korea, then will be headed to China where I very much look forward to meeting with President Xi who is just off his great political victory.”
By extending the tweet limit, Twitter will be hoping to gain more users. In the third quarter, the company performed better than expected, adding more monthly users. Monthly active users increased 4% to 330 million in the third-quarter, giving a ray of hope to investors, who gauge the health of the company by the audience size. Daily active users surged 14%, posting double-digit growth for the fourth consecutive quarter.
On Tuesday, Twitter shares closed up 1.37% at $19.66. Year to date, the stock is up almost 21%.