Twitter has just issued an official statement on the recent news that their currently testing an increase character count per tweet to 280, double the original 140 we’ve all grown to either live with or hate.
Their reasoning behind this is, in languages such as Japanese, users can convey about double the amount of information in one character as you can in English for example. It’s a case of making the platform equal for everyone.
Admittedly, not everyone is going to get to test this feature out as they’re only trialing it on a “small group right now” but, if the feedback is positive, there’s a chance this could be rolled out more broadly.
Below is the official statement from Twitter for you to have a read over and be sure to let us know about this potential new feature in the comments below.
Giving you more characters to express yourself
Trying to cram your thoughts into a Tweet – we’ve all been there, and it’s a pain.
Interestingly, this isn’t a problem everywhere people Tweet. For example, when you Tweet in English, you quickly run into the 140 character limit and have to edit the Tweet down so it fits. Sometimes, you have to remove a word that conveys an important meaning or emotion, or you don’t send the Tweet at all. But when Iku Tweets in Japanese, he doesn’t have the same problem. He finishes sharing his thought and still has room to spare. This is because in languages like Japanese, Korean, and Chinese you can convey about double the amount of information in one character as you can in many other languages, like English, Spanish, Portuguese, or French.
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).
Although this is only available to a small group right now, we want to be transparent about why we are excited to try this. Here are some of our findings:
We see that a small percent of Tweets sent in Japanese have 140 characters (only 0.4%). But in English, a much higher percentage of Tweets have 140 characters (9%). Most Japanese Tweets are 15 characters while most English Tweets are 34. Our research shows us that the character limit is a major cause of frustration for people Tweeting in English, but it is not for those Tweeting in Japanese. Also, in all markets, when people don’t have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and actually have some to spare, we see more people Tweeting – which is awesome!
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. What matters most is that this works for our community – we will be collecting data and gathering feedback along the way. We’re hoping fewer Tweets run into the character limit, which should make it easier for everyone to Tweet.
Twitter is about brevity. It’s what makes it such a great way to see what’s happening. Tweets get right to the point with the information or thoughts that matters. That is something we will never change.
We understand since many of you have been Tweeting for years, there may be an emotional attachment to 140 characters – we felt it, too. But we tried this, saw the power of what it will do, and fell in love with this new, still brief, constraint. We are excited to share this today, and we will keep you posted about what we see and what comes next.