Since September, Twitter’s been testing its new expanded character limit, letting verbose users flood timelines with 280 character tweets. For some, it’s allowed them to express themselves more clearly, without having to edit their tweets to be concise. For others, it’s let them spew forth walls of garbage. It turns out that not many of the specially selected test group even used the limit, and preferred to keep their tweets brief.
Now, the increased limit is open to all. Twitter has confirmed that the newly expanded character limit is available to all and sundry, which means we’re going to be seeing nothing but stupid jokes that exploit the character limit for the next few days.
In a published statement, Twitter’s Aliza Rosen said that people are tweeting more, but not necessarily using the full character limit.
“During the first few days of the test, many people tweeted the full 280 limit because it was new and novel, but soon after behavior normalized,” Rosen wrote. “We saw when people needed to use more than 140 characters, they tweeted more easily and more often. But importantly, people tweeted below 140 most of the time, and the brevity of Twitter remained.”
She also laid down some stats, suggesting that only 5% of tweets were longer than the traditional 140 limit, and only 2% were longer than 190.
“We – and many of you – were concerned that timelines may fill up with 280 character Tweets, and people with the new limit would always use up the whole space. But that didn’t happen. Only 5% of Tweets sent were longer than 140 characters and only 2% were over 190 characters. As a result, your timeline reading experience should not substantially change, you’ll still see about the same amount of Tweets in your timeline. For reference, in the timeline, Tweets with an image or poll usually take up more space than a 190 character Tweet.”
I was one of the concerned, but I honestly haven’t been bothered by the longer tweets much. Now that it’s open to everybody, that may change though.
Last Updated: November 8, 2017