Twitter has been one of the top social media presences on the internet since its launch in 2006. The people at Twitter are continually searching for new ways to increase their platform and market their online economy. Lately, though, we haven’t seen any astonishing changes. In fact, the most major alteration was in June when Twitter updated its interface which wasn’t exactly game-changing. Game-changing was just what Twitter needed, and we think they might have finally nailed it in their last November update.
Back in September, Twitter ran a test to see how Twitter users would react to an expansion of character limits per tweet. Their analysis resulted in positive feedback, so in November Twitter made the change permanent, doubling the character limit from its previous 140 characters. With the new 280 character limit, users are able to more easily compose Tweets that they otherwise would have to edit down to fit the character amount. Now, this is a game-changer.
For the last few years, people have been preparing for the inevitable decline and destruction of Twitter. The growth rate for Twitter hasn’t increased in the positive direction since 2009. Experts imagine that this eight year decline in growth rate of Twitter is due in part to several reasons. Amongst these reasons were the limit of only being able to post in Tweets of 140 characters. Users would compose a Tweet and spend several minutes trying to edit it into a character-appropriate Tweet, while still trying to maintain the integrity of the message they were attempting to get across. We’ve all been there. We’ve all dealt with the frustration of composing the perfect thought- witty, charming, and Retweet worthy, but at the dreaded 142 character mark. The reality of having to go back and figure out which word to delete or which punctuation to compromise is a hassle to say the least. This is one of the reasons new users were not attracted to Twitter.
One of the primary arguments for an extended character limit was the difference in establishing a written thought across languages. Languages like English, Portuguese, and French use significantly more words to get a point across than languages like Japanese or Chinese, whose languages are much more dense. So, for instance, a statement in English might take 140 characters, whereas the exact same statement in Japanese may only take 70 characters. In the study performed by Twitter, 9% of Tweets in English reached the character limit of 140, but in Japan, only 0.4% of Tweets reached the 140 limit. This argument led the way in the character increase for certain languages.
Twitter has a lot of work to do if they want to keep up with the other social media giants on the current market. Doubling the character limit was a critical step in maintaining their internet prowess. Only time will tell if it creates enough difference to bring in new users and maintain their current ones. The people at Twitter can only hope it does.