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Twitter Increases 280 Character Tweet Limit For Everyone

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Twitter says longer Tweets encourage more engagement without sacrificing brevity

Twitter is rolling out a new 280-character limit for Tweets following a successful trial period with a selected number of users. 

While Twitter has experimented with a number of new features that have drastically changed the experience, such as quoted Tweets, threads and images that don’t count towards the limit of a post, the 140 limit has remained sacrosanct. The same constraint on Direct Messages was lifted in 2015 however. 

Twitter said that although there might be an “emotional constraint” to the old limit, it is not worried that longer posts will damage the appeal of the platform.  

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Twitter 280 

It said that just five percent of Tweets were longer than 140 characters and just two percent were in excess of 190. This, it said, showed users were able to add more information in their Tweets without sacrificing the brevity of the platform. 

“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,” said Aliza Rosen, Twitter Product Manager. “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.” 

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Twitter said it expected more silliness (a few examples below) in the next few days as all users get their hands on the new feature, but anticipated a return to normal before long. 

It is hoped the move will help Twitter capitalise on its popularity and influence to generate revenue – something it is so far failed to do – amid fears of slowing user growth. It claimed that longer Tweets generated more engagements and users who could write them spent longer on the platform. 

Not all languages will benefit though. Chinese, Japanese and Korean language versions will remain on the 140 limit because their dense writing systems mean cramming isn’t as much of a problem. 

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