Yes, Twitter Is Rolling Out 280-Character Tweets to Nearly All Users

Except for Japanese, Korean and Chinese languages

Photo and Illustration: Dianna McDougall; Model: John Tejada

R.I.P. 140-character tweets. After beginning to test out 280-character tweets in September, Twitter is rolling out tweets with double the number of characters for (almost) all users.

The micro-blogging platform is rolling out the changes to all languages except for Korean, Chinese and Japanese. The original 140-character limit will remain intact with tweets written in those three languages because those tweets tend to be shorter, per Twitter.

“We are making this change after listening and observing a problem our global community was having—it wasn’t easy enough to tweet—studying data to understand how we could improve, trying it out and listening to your feedback,” wrote Aliza Rosen, product manager at Twitter, in a blog post.

Pithy, 140-character messages are core to Twitter’s platform; both users and marketers worry that longer tweets may water down Twitter’s communication and marketing potential. However, Rosen wrote that while there was a lot of initial excitement around longer tweets, the hype died down quickly, and people resumed to writing shorter posts. In fact, Twitter said that only 5 percent of tweets in the test had more than 140 characters, while a mere 2 percent clocked in at over than 190 characters.

Approximately 9 percent of tweets written in English typically take up the full 140 characters. During the test with longer tweets, only 1 percent of tweets hit the character threshold, indicating that “people spent less time editing their tweets in a composer,” wrote Rosen. Twitter didn’t disclose any statistics that show a correlation between the number of characters and frequency of tweets but believes that people who spent less time composing a tweet also sent more tweets.

“We saw when people needed to use more than 140 characters, they tweeted more easily and more often,” Rosen added. “But importantly, people tweeted below 140 [characters] most of the time and the brevity of Twitter remained.”

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