TWITTER HAS begun a trial of 280 character tweets, double the traditional 140.
Twitter boss Jack Dorsey explained that the move would help users better express themselves. The move is being trialled by select users in all countries, bar Japan, with a view to rolling it out to all Twitter users at a later date.
This is a small change, but a big move for us. 140 was an arbitrary choice based on the 160 character SMS limit. Proud of how thoughtful the team has been in solving a real problem people have when trying to tweet. And at the same time maintaining our brevity, speed, and essence! https://t.co/TuHj51MsTu— jack (@jack) September 26, 2017
The original 140 character count was designed to reflect the needs of the 160 characters of an SMS message, but with virtually no one tweeting this way anymore, the time has become right for a change.
In a blog post announcing the trial, Twitter explains that the move will level the playing field compared to languages such as Chinese and Japanese where the same Tweet can take just a few characters.
It explains: "Although we feel confident about our data and the positive impact this change will have, we want to try it out with a small group of people before we make a decision to launch to everyone. What matters most is that this works for our community - we will be collecting data and gathering feedback along the way. We're hoping fewer Tweets run into the character limit, which should make it easier for everyone to Tweet"
Twitter has been losing ground to other platforms, particularly Instagram, and a resurgent Facebook which is enjoying something of a renaissance as Generation Z resigns itself to the fact that their parents are all on there too. Meanwhile, Twitter and Snapchat remain sluggish.
Although popular in the UK and US, Twitter is still losing users and remains without a reliable source of income. Since its IPO in 2014, the company is yet to turn a profit consistent with expectations.
The decision is an extension of the earlier experiment to discount Twitter handles and hashtags from replies so the full 140 characters could be leveraged for whatever bile is being spilt.
Users have traditionally been resistant to change, and at time of going to press it is still too early to gauge what people are making of this one. µ
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