So it seems 140 characters is not enough. At least in some languages. Twitter wants to help us get our message out, by doubling the character limit to 280. While most of us welcome the opportunity to wax a little more lyrical on social, there were those who pointed out the obvious flaws... But seriously, it seems this week a select few Twitters users are able to trial the new 280 character limit, before it rolls out to all of us.
And the reason behind this huge move?
Product manager Aliza Rosen said in an explanatory blog: "I quickly run into the 140 character limit and have to edit my Tweet down so it fits. "Sometimes, I have to remove a word that conveys an important meaning or emotion, or I don’t send my Tweet at all". Meanwhile, her Japanese colleague manages to express himself with extra room to spare. And there lies the issue. Twitter reckons 140 characters is not enough for those of us who use languages 'impacted by cramming'. That's everyone, apart from the Japanese, Chinese and Korean.
Or is the truth of it that Twitter, which has 328 million active monthly users, trying to compete with Instagram's 700 million and Facebook's 2 billion?
Brevity is Twitter's USP. And the more concise we are on social media, the more traffic we get. Studies show that posts on Facebook with 80 characters or fewer receive 66% higher traffic, and tweets shorter than 100 characters get 17% higher engagement.
So why try to make us all more wordy?
Tech blog VentureBeat confirmed Twitter’s growth problem in the Summer, revealing the number of monthly active users had stayed flat for the first and second quarter of this year. And that could spell more trouble for a company whose stock was trading at $23.05 a year ago and just $16.59 this week. The character expansion is a gamble and time will tell how users will react. Will they flee or will they stick around to see its possibilities? Will more users join Twitter now that there’s more space to type?
Will we all become more verbal, or start hashtagging all over ourselves?
In the meantime, CEO Jack Dorsey is sticking to Twitter's guns...
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