For the first time in 11 years, Twitter is increasing its character limit for tweets

By Maryam Dodhy on
September 27, 2017
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Twitter has proven to be more effective than our English teacher at school to make us a real pro at paraphrasing.

Twitter’s blue bird and its 140-character limit on tweets have become its most defining features over the years. Going through Twitter after long Facebook rants is actually a sigh of relief. But turns out Twitter may soon double its character limit to 280. Yeah, gear up for longer tweets because this is happening. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey tweeted out earlier today, in quite a long tweet, that the company is testing the new 280-character limit on a small set of users right now.

Back in 2006, when Twitter started, they made brevity their unique selling point – even the company itself was called Twttr then. Since a typical SMS is of 160 characters, they opted for the arbitrary number of 140 for the character limit. But as Twitter’s user base increased, people started adding media files and URLs to their tweets but the major problem was that they would eat up a major chunk of the 140 character limit. As a result, Twitter introduced a link shortener in 2011, which fit a URL into 19 characters. The same year a third-party app Deck.ly surfaced which allowed people to bypass the 140-character limit. Twitter bought Deck.ly and everyone rejoiced that longer tweets were coming. However, all joy was killed when Twitter shut down Deck.ly after buying it.

Over the years, Twitter has tried to become more accommodating for its users and removed the 140-character limit from direct messages, removed the Twitter handle character count from replies to tweets, and also excluded media files from being counted in a tweets character limit.

However, after 11 years of sticking to the 140-character limit for its tweets, Twitter is finally moving to longer tweets. The company holds the view that when people can’t cram their thoughts in 140 characters they often choose not to tweet. And since Twitter’s user base has hit a plateau at over 4 billion users, they can’t afford to lose the people that choose to stay.

[Image Source Slash Gear]

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