For the last few years, Twitter has been trying to free its users from its 140 character limit. Last year, it removed photos, videos, and quotes from it. Also, earlier this year, it exempted @replies from this constraint. And now, Twitter is working on this character constraint once again. The company just announced that it’s running a small test in which the character limit of your tweet will expand from 140 to a whopping 280 so that you can play with your word much more in certain languages than others.
This experiment will mostly help those whose language is anything other than Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. Product Manager Aliza Rosen said in a blog post that users with some particular East Asian languages don’t have to suffer from the same binding as English-speaking users. It’s because this 140 character limit is mostly a problem for the English-speaking users rather than Japanese users.
“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,” she said.
Right now, Twitter is testing out this aforementioned 280-character limit to a small group of users in the interest of making it easier for all. This change will only affect users whose language is anything but Japanese, Chinese or Korean. According to Rosen, before rolling out its 280-character limit on a wide scale, the company plans to collect data and gather feedback about the experiment.
“We understand since many of you have been tweeting for years, there may be an emotional attachment to 140 characters — we felt it, too,” says Rosen. “But we tried this, saw the power of what it will do, and fell in love with this new, still brief, constraint.”
Albeit it’s much less compared to the 10,000 character limit rumored last year, 280 still don’t look that bad. However, it still doesn’t have something that users really seem to want, the edit option.