Twitter announced this Tuesday that it would be introducing changes to the character limit to some users. From now on, tweets will double in length from 140 to 280 so as to fit more content in all languages except Chinese, Japanese, and Korean.
The announcement by Product Manager Aliza Rosen and Senior Software Engineer Ikuhiro Ihara was based on research done by the company, which suggested people in all other languages hit the character limit way more often than the bulk of the population in Asia since the characters they use convey more meaning.
Out of all the social media giants, Twitter has been the one to struggle the most to catch up with user growth rates. Their numbers have stalled and no matter what new feature they add or partnership they strike, it seems like the platform is destined to encounter more and more trouble.
In case anyone is wondering why 280 characters is a bad idea, it's because THE TWEET IS NOW TOO LONG TO FIT ON TWITTER pic.twitter.com/WaUOMLAYiQ
— Sarah Kendzior (@sarahkendzior) September 26, 2017
Users don’t like 280-character tweets too much
According to research conducted internally by Twitter, just 0.4% percent of tweets written in Japanese hit the 140-character limit, while 9% of English messages on the platform reach that limit in contrast. Findings also show that the average length of English tweets is more than double the length of Japanese tweets.
With this in mind, and citing an apparent frustration among users who hit the character limit more frequently, the company has backpedaled on its position regarding tweet length. Starting this Tuesday, small groups of people might find that they are able to write up to 240 characters in a single tweet.
As usual with the Twitter crowd, they are hard to please and don’t like changes too much. The formula has been simple since the beginning and it’s been all about brevity. Naturally, doubling the length of tweets did not sit well with most, who quickly pointed out that not even other platform accommodated these changes.
Close your eyes.
Imagine Trump using Twitter.
Now imagine Trump using Twitter with 280 characters.
Now close Twitter.
— M.G. Siegler (@mgsiegler) September 26, 2017
People are worried about Trump’s longer tweets now
But of course, the main source of concern after realizing the implications of the character limit extension was President Donald Trump. The U.S. leader is an avid Twitter user, and has famously (some might say infamously) used the platform for official and not so official affairs during his tenure.
Most recently, the Commander in Chief rambled about NFL players and their peaceful protests during the national anthem, implying measures would be taken against those who commit the apparent offense.
Users from all walks of life fear that the longer text field gives Trump more space to go on even longer tirades about whatever he puts his attention on next. This prospect has fueled even further the broad negative response by Twitter’s user base following the announcement.