Only eleven years after Twitter’s original launch, the social media network has decided to double its character count.
The company piloted the program for the first two months with select users, allowing them to test the content possibilities with 280 characters. The change was implemented in an effort to give languages that require more characters to display more complex messages.
Twitter made the character extension public on Nov. 7, but the company has used the statistics gathered to ensure that the brevity of the site is preserved. According to Twitter’s Blog, on average only nine percent of total tweets actually reached the 140-character limit and the extension has lowered amount of tweets that approach the limit to decrease to less than one percent.
The struggles of attempting to fit a thought into 140 characters causes the abandonment of several tweets as the manipulation of characters often takes too long.
“It makes It a lot easier for the user to type out what they want rather than warping what they want to say because of the character count. So all in all I’m a big fan,” Bailey Parrish said. “I really enjoy it because I love tweeting quotes from people that I idolize and now I don’t have to trim them down.”
They discovered that once the craze of the extension had subsided, only five percent of tweets recorded were more than 140 characters, with less than two percent over 190 characters. Celebrity and Twitter icon John Mayer tweeted a metaphor with his thoughts on the expansion.
“Look, here’s the deal: if I had a 140 square foot apartment, and somebody magically doubled the size of it, I’m not gonna keep everything all cramped together and say “I’ll just use that other side of the apartment when I really need to.” I’m making that side a mess, too.” Mayer said.
Languages that can convey more complex messages in fewer characters, such as Chinese, Japanese, and Korean will continue to be limited to 140 characters per tweet.
Co-founder Biz Stone tweeted the day of the launch, “In addition to more Tweeting, people who had 280 characters received more Likes, Retweets, @mentions, Followers, and were more satisfied with Twitter. So, you’ll be getting 280 too—enjoy!”
While the expansion pleased some, many avid tweeters are upset the brand chose to double the character count before adding an edit feature like Facebook and Instagram. Maybe this will be Twitter’s next move.