Social Media

Twitter want to expand tweets from 140 to 280 characters

Twitter just doubled the character limit for tweets to 280. The company has announced that it has started testing the 280-character tweets in an effort to give users more room to express themselves.

You will all agree that character limit has always been a major cause of frustrations for Twitter users, especially those tweeting in English, and twitter seems to agree with this.

So why does Twitter want to double Tweets on our timeline?  The company explained in a blog post that it basically wants to accommodate those tweeting in other languages like English, Spanish, Portuguese or French as compared with others, like Japanese, Korean and Chinese. The company says from its research, only 0.4 % tweets sent in Japanese have 140 characters. But in English, a much higher percentage at 9%  of Tweets have 140 characters (9%). Most Japanese Tweets it says are 15 characters while most English Tweets are 34.

‘’When people don’t have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and actually have some to spare, we see more people Tweeting – which is awesome!’’ the company said.

The company says it’s confident about its data and the positive impact this change will have, that’s why it’s trying out this new update with a small group of people before making a decision to launch to everyone.

‘’Twitter is about brevity. It’s what makes it such a great way to see what’s happening. Tweets get right to the point with the information or thoughts that matter. That is something we will never change.’’

‘’We understand since many of you have been Tweeting for years, there may be an emotional attachment to 140 characters – we felt it, too. But we tried this, saw the power of what it will do, and fell in love with this new, still brief, constraint. ‘’ the blog post read.

In May 2016, Twitter also killed photos and videos from its 140-character limit in what it described as a move to distance itself from its strict adherence to the rule that tweets should only contain 140 characters.

Well, as Twitter said, most users already have an emotional attachment to the 140 characters and it will be interesting how they will react should Twitter finally decide to roll out the 280-character to everyone.

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Nixon Kanali

Tech journalist based in Nairobi. I track and report on tech and African startups. Founder and Editor of TechTrends Media. Nixon is also the East African tech editor for Africa Business Communities. Send tips to

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