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  HOME | Science, Nature & Technology

Tweaking the Tweet: Twitter Tests Out Doubling Number of Characters to 280

NEW YORK – Twitter has announced that, as from Wednesday, it has enabled a test-group of users to text double the amount of characters on their tweets, according to a statement issued by the San Francisco-based company.

Twitter’s product manager did not mince words on an opening statement published on her blog, late Tuesday night: “Trying to cram your thoughts into a Tweet – we’ve all been there, and it’s a pain.”

Aliza Rosen announced that Twitter had decided to experimentally increase, among some users in various languages, the number of characters from 140 to 280 per tweet.”

The reason being that some languages like Japanese, Korean and Chinese can convey nearly twice the amount of information in one character as you can in many other languages, like English, Spanish, Portuguese or French.

“Our research shows us that the character limit is a major cause of frustration for people Tweeting in English,” Rosen added.

“Therefore, as from today, a group of (lucky) worldwide Twitter users have been selected at random,” she said, although the rest of the Twitter community will also be able to see these new – XXL – messages.

Twitter’s product manager reminded everyone that her service was all about brevity: “Tweets get right to the point with the information or thoughts that matter,” she said. “That is something we will never change.”

The spokesperson whose company features a Bluebird logo said they understood that many users who had been Tweeting for years could have “an emotional attachment to 140 characters – we felt it, too.”

But she added that the company had tried the extended texts, seen the power of what it will do, “and fell in love with this new, still brief, constraint.”

Twitter was originally designed to be used through telecom’s Short Message Service (SMS) services thus limiting the content to 160 characters.

Twitter set aside 20 characters for the user’s name and the rest became a permanent exercise of concision.

Twitter has recently pushed some improvements along the way such as the possibility of attaching images without them being counted as characters.

As not all languages are equally concise, the experiment could yet see the Bluebird will spread its wings and become far more widely used.

 

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