In the age of Donald Trump, Twitter has never been more relevant. The American Commander-in-chief’s favorite communication tool has gone ahead and given every troll, ranter and pseudo journalist an extra 140 characters. Since the advent of Twitter, it’s 140 character limit has been its most defining, and also one of its most contentious features.
The social media company announced Tuesday that it was testing tweets as long as 280 characters, double the the sparse limit of 140. Twitter is testing a global rollout, but that doesn’t mean every user has it yet. It’s also not available at all in Japanese, Chinese and Korean languages.
“We want every person around the world to easily express themselves on Twitter, so we’re doing something new: we’re going to try out a longer limit, 280 characters, in languages impacted by cramming (which is all except Japanese, Chinese, and Korean),” Twitter explained in a blog post. “Although we feel confident about our data and the positive impact this change will have, we want to try it out with a small group of people before we make a decision to launch to everyone.”
Not sure if “new” is the word for such a feature and how “positive” the “impact” may be is to be seen. Twitter is more under fire than lauded these days because it’s become the platform of choice for trolls big and small, spreading a hate and not to mention fake news.
Can’t fit your Tweet into 140 characters? 🤔
We’re trying something new with a small group, and increasing the character limit to 280! Excited about the possibilities? Read our blog to find out how it all adds up. 👇https://t.co/C6hjsB9nbL
— Twitter (@Twitter) September 26, 2017
Longer tweets were much more popular among those writing in English, as opposed to Japanese, citing data that only 0.4 percent of tweets written in Japanese were 140 characters, as compared with 9 percent written in English.
It also spoke about their research proving that character limit can be a major cause of frustration for people Tweeting in English. Tweets in languages like Japanese, Chinese and Korean, where a few characters can easily make up sentences, is not as much an issue.