Twitter is one of the most popular and most used social media networks but the thought that a single tweet does not exceed 140 characters is unbearable for some users who have a lot on their minds. After a successful trial run with select users, Twitter announced yesterday that it is officially increasing its character limit to 280 which is double the initial limit. For now, some languages such as Japanese, Korean, and Chinese remains at the old 140 character limit. Many users have been waiting for this increment and while some users will automatically see the 280-character feature, others may have to refresh their PC Twitter page or update their mobile app to see the feature.
Twitter product manager Aliza Rosen wrote in a blog post
"We are making this change after listening and observing a problem our global community was having (it wasn't easy enough to Tweet!), studying data to understand how we could improve, trying it out, and listening to your feedback,"
In recent times, Twitter has been facing intense criticism notably from shareholders, Congress, President Donald Trump and many of its users for its negligence to the harassment that some users encounter. It is also heavily criticized for the fact that it was “quiet” towards propaganda during the 2016 US presidential election. This move by Twitter will probably not take away these criticisms but it will definitely give people something else to talk about Twitter other than criticisms. Also, it might just encourage a few users to join or re-join the network whose user count has stalled at 330 million accounts for the past three years.
Kelley Heider, a crisis communications expert at SSPR said
"They change their narrative in the news cycle by responding to user feedback,"…"It will be pretty interesting to see what President Trump does with it, for sure,"
Heider also noted that although increasing the character limit is a good thing, there are probable backlashes when its longer length is abused and used to post more abusive tweets. The 140-character limit was enacted many years ago, about the same time the company started. Now, the company says that 9% of tweets in English reach the 140-character limit, however, this volume is bound to drop with the new 280 characters. For now, many users are tweeting to the full 280-character limit probably because it’s new. In 2015, Twitter expunged the limit in direct messages photos, videos, GIFs, as well as replies to other users.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey said
"What matters now is we clearly show why this change is important, and to prove to you it's better," he said. "Give us some time to learn and confirm (or challenge!) our ideas."
Dorsey also stated that the 140-character limit was a temporary idea which was inspired by the 160 limit for SMS on cellphones