Twitter on Tuesday announced it was expanding its character limit from 140 to 280 for all barring those tweeting in Japanese, Chinese and Korean. In September, the micro-blogging site had started testing the new character limit with a small group.
Twitter said its goal was to make it “easier for users to express themselves, while ensuring we keep the speed and brevity that makes Twitter, Twitter”.
Twitter’s Project Manager Aliza Rosen said, “During the first few days of the test, many people tweeted the full 280 limit because it was new and novel, but soon after, behaviour normalised.” Only 5% of tweets were found to be longer than 140 characters during the test while only 2% were over 190 characters, Twitter said.
However, when people needed more than 140 characters, they were able to tweet more easily and more often, Twitter said. Addressing several users’ fear that Twitter may lose its brevity, Rosen said, “People tweeted below 140 most of the time and the brevity of Twitter remained.”
So why increase the character limit?
Twitter said people who used the extra characters during the test got more likes, retweets, mentions and followers. They also spent more time on Twitter, and were more satisfied with how they expressed themselves.
The company said the new limit would not apply to tweets in Japanese, Chinese and Korean as they can convey more information in a single character.