Majority of Twitter users around the world can now send tweets that have 280 characters. Twitter made this known yesterday stating that longer tweets — to be expanded from 140 to 280 characters — will be the standard now for all languages including English and Spanish, except Japanese, Chinese and Korean languages. For these Asian languages, the company says, the 140-character restriction still holds owing to the fact that tweets in the languages used double the volume of data in a single character, as compared to other languages such as English and the likes.
Initially, the expansion was only available for some selected users for the trial phase. Before the announcement of this upgrade was made, Twitter had first stated in September its plan to increase its character limit beyond 140 characters, backing up its decision then with the assertion that a longer character count would allow users express their thoughts more without using up all the space for tweeting.
Reactions Trailing the Development of 280 Characters Tweet
Even back in September when the company first revealed its plan to expand the character count of tweets, a reasonable amount of controversy trailed the decision. Now that the expansion has become a reality, several people have reacted to this development stating that brevity of tweets used to be a major feature of Twitter. These people remarked that expanding the character limit to 280 characters would reduce the readability of posts because those tweets that are longer used up most of the space in their timelines.
Other users argued that the focus that the company put on a feature that nobody actually requested was shifting its attention from other issues that are more critical, such as the rampant harassment, abuse as well as bullying that the platform has sadly become synonymous with. Furthermore, some users added that this expansion to 280 characters does not actually mean people could express themselves better; they would only the same thing with more words.
But the views of these people don’t necessarily represent those of the large user base of Twitter as some users had been asking for the feature since two years ago. A large percentage of such users are Americans. Thus, as with most other features, both positive and negative sentiments have trailed the development; though the negative remarks seem to outweigh the positive ones.
Merits and Demerits of the Feature
The expanded character limit would facilitate expression while still maintaining the brevity that the platform is famous for, Twitter says in a blog post. With the previous 140-character limit, 9% of posts got to the limit. During the testing phase, however, only 1% of tweets reached the 280-character limit.
But the character limit expansion could disrupt the rapidly moving and real-time feature of the platform, which encourages users to tweet more paragraphs that are expansive instead of posting just a few words with a link. This might be particularly applicable to the large as well as noisy group of expert analysts whose job is to explain events of the day using threads that are voluminous.