Twitter Extends Character Limit To 280 For Some Languages
I remember when the brand-new Twitter was given an award, and the founder explained he would try to express himself in 140 characters or less. I’m sure it could have gone something like this:
I’d like to say thanks to everybody involved in Twitter, as without their hard work, we would never have come this far. You’re all awesome a
So you see my point? Actually no you won’t because I ran out of characters before I could use punctuation! Twitter’s 140-character limit is of course one of the main points of the micro-blogging social media platform. This character limit is to help make sure Tweets are kept short and to the point. Now sure, there are occasions when this character limit is woefully inadequate and for this, we have the Tweetstorm – something Twitter are also working on! Tweetstorms are a way of rolling out a number of Tweets in quick succession usually used to express rage and, apparently, there are proper ways to do this. One has to reply to the correct Tweet in order to follow the rules. Um. Okay.
Getting back to the point, last month Twitter started allowing some Twitter users to express themselves with twice the number of characters as we’re used to. Yes: for some Twitter users around the world, you can now Tweet up to 280 characters. Twitter also blogged about the subject and went into some detail as to how different languages are more or less efficient when it comes to characters. The Japanese written language, the blog details, is about twice as efficient as the English language. I guess they mean American English, as
Proper British English is even less efficient. We Brits love our additional U-characters, and sometimes we bundle them up in additional “ums.” Anyway the point is that Twitter produced a bunch of graphs illustrating how their 140-character limit was more frustrating for English customers compared with Japanese customers. Twitter even had their Product Manager, Aliza Rosen, explain why in an extended-character Tweet.
Now I’m sure that some Twitter users love having their Tweets limited to 140 characters. Other users love to see people try to condense their messages into a 140-character limit! However, it doesn’t appear that for those customers getting the 280-character limit, there isn’t a toggle, but overnight they are gaining the ability to Tweet with twice the number of characters. Twitter has wrung its hands about this and feels it’s caught between needing to keep existing customers happy, and get new people onboard. It’s working hard to engage with people and giving us more space to Tweet might work: statistics show that existing Twitter users are using the service more, so adding a few more users could help. But for such a simple change, Twitter went into massive detail – a total of 2,668 characters to rationalise their decision to increase their character limit.