Have you ever had to shorten a tweet because you ran out of room? The new character count presents Twitter users with new space for creativity.
When Twitter’s maximum character count for tweets was 140, users had to abbreviate lengthy words, use short hashtags and avoid punctuation in order to stay under the limit. Now that the limit has expanded to 280, Twitter users have more freedom and flexibility to post their thoughts in greater detail.
Character count includes every letter, space and punctuation mark used in a tweet.
While testing out the new space, Twitter executives came to a surprising conclusion: users appreciate more space but don’t always see its benefit.
Only five percent of tweets were longer than 140 characters and two percent went over 190.
“It’s worth emphasizing again that people in the test got very excited about the extra space in the beginning and many tweets went way beyond 140,” said Aliza Rosen, Twitter product manager, in an interview with CNBC. “People did silly things like writing one character per line to make their Tweets extra large. It was a temporary effect and didn’t last long.”
Twitter executives mentioned users who tweeted in languages like Japanese, Chinese and Korean were able to express greater thoughts in posts. Characters in those languages can express more meaning than characters used in English, Spanish or French.
The decision to lengthen tweet capabilities was decided in summer 2016 but was implemented in November 2017.
Despite the new capabilities offered in the expansion, only a small percentage of tweets have more than 140 characters since the extension.
Twitter executives reported that when the limit was 140 characters, only nine percent of tweets reached the limit. Now that the limit is 280 characters, only one percent of tweets have reached that limit.
Statistics present a formal perspective, yet several Weber State University students shared their opinions on the tweet length extension over Twitter.
“I think that the new character count is awesome because now I can write more about games, comics or superheroes without having to abbreviate anything,” said Ian Wilcox.
“The new Twitter count at 280 is great, but I am also worried that this might mean that President Donald Trump can now just tweet more and more than he did before. I don’t know if I’m ready for that,” said Andy Morris.
“I love the new Twitter count. I think it’s awesome that I can see more from the people that I follow and read what they are doing. I do think that this could be really good for Twitter because then users can feel more creative and have more room to write their thoughts,” said Nicole Davis.
The character count expansion is still in a young stage of its inception. Twitter users will eventually acclimate to the tweet length.
“We’ll definitely see some of this novelty effect spike again with this week’s launch and expect it to resume to normal behavior soon after,” Rosen said.