After rolling a short testing phase that began near the end of September, Twitter has now decided to officially start expanding their character count to 280 to all accounts where language cramming has been identified as an issue.
In September, we launched a test that expanded the 140 character limit so every person around the world could express themselves easily in a Tweet. Our goal was to make this possible while ensuring we keep the speed and brevity that makes Twitter, Twitter. Looking at all the data, we're excited to share we've achieved this goal and are rolling the change out to all languages where cramming was an issue.
During the first few days of the test, many people Tweeted the full 280 limit because it was new and novel, but soon after behavior normalized. We saw when people needed to use more than 140 characters, they Tweeted more easily and more often. But importantly, people Tweeted below 140 most of the time, and the brevity of Twitter remained.
As noted in their blog post, some Twitter users went a little crazy once they had 280 characters to utilize but the silliness and newness factor died down eventually once the novelty wore off. Eventually, the increased count led to more engagement.
It's worth emphasizing again that people in the test got very excited about the extra space in the beginning and many Tweets went way beyond 140. People did silly (creative!) things like writing just a few characters per line to make their Tweets extra large. It was a temporary effect and didn't last long. We expect to see some of this novelty effect spike again with this week's launch and expect it to resume to normal behavior soon after.
In addition to more Tweeting, people who had more room to Tweet received more engagement (Likes, Retweets, @mentions), got more followers, and spent more time on Twitter. People in the experiment told us that a higher character limit made them feel more satisfied with how they expressed themselves on Twitter, their ability to find good content, and Twitter overall.
Twitter doesn't note when accounts will start seeing the new 280 character count go live for them, but the process has begun today. Additionally, it should be noted once again that the change only applies to languages where cramming was an issue so in the case of Japanese, Korean, and Chinese, users of those languages will still only see 140 characters as they don't suffer from the same cramming issue. No doubt if you're using a third-party client such, some updates might be required as well.
What do you all think? Good move, bad move or don't care either way? Let us know in the comments!
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