November 10th, 2017
Twitter was born in 2006 and quickly became a social media phenomenon. In the beginning, the reason for the 140-character limit was to mimic the length of SMS messages. SMS messages were limited to 160 characters, and Twitter decided to save the remaining 20 characters for the username. However, the character limit soon became one of the most prominent components of the social media platform.
Fast forward to today, and the social media giant announced the controversial idea to make the move from 140 characters to 280 characters back in September. The platform began testing the extended tweet length originally made available to a select group of Twitter users in an effort to help users be more expressive.
Twitter released a blog post in September stating, “We want every person around the world to easily express themselves on Twitter, so we’re doing something new: we’re going to try out a longer limit, 280 characters, in languages impacted by cramming.”
The increased character limit would make it easier for users to express themselves while keeping it concise and brief. With the previous 140-character limit in place, 9 percent of tweets reached 140 characters. During the test made available to the test group, only 1 percent of tweets hit 280 characters.
On November 7, Twitter announced that longer tweets will be made available in every language except Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. Twitter stated these languages are able to fit more thoughts into less characters, whereas users tweeting in other languages, such as English, have to cram.
Of course, this caused a bit of controversy as some users suggested that Twitter should focus on more prominent issues like cutting down on harassment. Other users are still wondering why there is not a feature to edit tweets, which has been a long standing pressing issue.
Now that the 280-character limit has been extended to everyone, it will be interesting to see how this changes the dynamics of Twitter.
Check out some of the best 280-character tweets here.