Social Media

Twitter decides to elaborate to the tune of 240 characters

Martin Kovacs /

Twitter users may no longer struggle to cram all their thoughts into one tweet, with the social media platform to trial a longer 280-character limit.

The longer limit, which Twitter product manager Aliza Rosen and senior software engineer Ikuhiro Ihara explained in a blog post “is only available to a small group right now”, doubles Twitter’s 140-character staple.

While some languages present more avenue for expression within the 140-character boundary, the social media platform says it wants “every person around the world to easily express themselves”.

Comparing Japanese and English language tweets, only 0.4% of tweets sent in Japanese utilise 140 characters, while in English this stands at 9% – with most Japanese tweets 15 characters long and most English tweets 34.

“Our research shows us that the character limit is a major cause of frustration for people tweeting in English, but it is not for those tweeting in Japanese,” said Rosen and Ihara.

Twitter has yet to reveal when the 280-character limit will be available to all.

“Although we feel confident about our data and the positive impact this change will have, we want to try it out with a small group of people before we make a decision to launch to everyone,” the two said.

“What matters most is that this works for our community — we will be collecting data and gathering feedback along the way. We’re hoping fewer tweets run into the character limit, which should make it easier for everyone to tweet.”

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Martin Kovacs

Martin Kovacs is a journalist with experience covering the IT, consumer electronics, retail, finance and energy sectors.

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