Tweeps weep as 280-char­ac­ter tweets now real

The East African - - MAGAZINE - - Victor Kiprop

In a ma­jor change to its 11-year ser­vice, so­cial me­dia plat­form, Twit­ter has fi­nally killed the iconic 140-char­ac­ter limit per tweet.

The of­fi­cial roll­out on Novem­ber 7 came just a month after the com­pany an­nounced that it was test­ing 280-char­ac­ter Tweets to help users get around the “con­straints” posed by cer­tain lan­guages.

“His­tor­i­cally, nine per cent of Tweets in English hit the char­ac­ter limit. This re­flects the chal­lenge of fit­ting a thought into a Tweet, of­ten re­sult­ing in lots of time spent edit­ing and even at times aban­don­ing Tweets be­fore send­ing,” said Twit­ter prod­uct man­ager Al­iza Rosen.

“With the ex­panded char­ac­ter count, this prob­lem was mas­sively re­duced – that num­ber dropped to only 1 per cent of Tweets run­ning up against the limit.”

Over the ex­per­i­men­tal pe­riod, only five per cent of Tweets sent were longer than 140 char­ac­ters, only two per cent were over 190 char­ac­ters and only one per cent hit the 280-char­ac­ter limit. While this could be a clear in­di­ca­tion that Twit­ter users are sat­is­fied with the 140-char­ac­ter limit, Twit­ter says the test proved that giv­ing more peo­ple room to tweet re­sults in more en­gage­ment.

“In ad­di­tion to more tweet­ing, peo­ple who had more room to tweet re­ceived more en­gage­ment, got more fol­low­ers, and spent more time on Twit­ter,” the so­cial me­dia plat­form in its blog.

The 280-char­ac­ter limit will how­ever not be avail­able to those tweet­ing in Chi­nese, Ja­panese and Korean, as these can fit more thoughts into fewer char­ac­ters. Most Twit­ter users glob­ally were dis­ap­pointed. Jonathan Kres­saty @kres­saty posted: “why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why why?”

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