Twitter is testing a 280 character limit, while suggesting that letting people say more will get them to tweet more.
That’s right, Twitter is doubling its signature 140 character limit to 280, a move intended to give people more room to express themselves.
Don’t go on Twitter and try to compose an extra long tweet just yet though, as the expanded character limit is only being rolled out to a small test group of people.
However, Twitter has every intention to roll it out to everyone if the test proves to be successful. So here’s what you need to know.
Why is Twitter Testing a Longer Character Limit?
There have been a number of reasons given as to why Twitter is doing this.
Get People to Tweet More
Aliza Rosen, a product manager at Twitter, said in the announcement post that the company wants to give people more room to express themselves.
Rosen also went on to say people tweet more in languages where twice the information can be conveyed in a tweet. Languages like Japanese, Chinese, and Korean.
Twitter’s idea seems to be that other demographics will begin to tweet more if they have enough characters to complete their full thoughts.
Getting people to tweet more would be good for business, which is likely what the company is trying to achieve with this test.
The 140 Character Limit Was Not Intentional
Twitter founder Jack Dorsey explained that the 140 character limit was only put in place because of the SMS limit that existed back in Twitter’s early days.
This is a small change, but a big move for us. 140 was an arbitrary choice based on the 160 character SMS limit. Proud of how thoughtful the team has been in solving a real problem people have when trying to tweet. And at the same time maintaining our brevity, speed, and essence! https://t.co/TuHj51MsTu
— jack (@jack) September 26, 2017
Now that Twitter is not bound by SMS limits, perhaps they finally decided now it’s time to test the waters of a longer character limit.
Encourage New Users to Sign Up
Regardless of how you personally feel about Twitter, there’s no denying it’s struggling to appeal to new users. The numbers show it.
An expanded character limit has the potential to encourage new signups. Those who aren’t already on Twitter may find the ability to write longer messages is a good reason to join.
It’s clear that the company has to do at least something different. The numbers show that maintaining the status quo has not led to company growth.
When Will All Users Receive the Upgraded Character Limit?
At this point no one knows when, or even if, the upgraded character limit will make its way to everyone.
The test will probably continue until Twitter has enough data to determine whether it was a success or failure. Whenever that is, only Twitter can decide.