In further news that Twitter doesn’t actually listen to its users, the company announced on Tuesday that it would be doubling its character capacity on tweets from 140 characters to 280 characters for all users. This follows a trial that started in late September, during which a select group of users had their character limits expanded from 140 to 280.
Twitter claims that the changes are a good thing (because of course they’re a good thing), because “only” 5% of tweets with the 280 character limit exceeded 140 characters and only 2% were over 190 characters. That’s all well and good, but what’s the damn point of expanding the character limit if only 5% of tweets are taking advantage of it?
The reason for the change? Twitter believes that its users thought*it was too hard to tweet.*
We are making this change after listening and observing a problem our global community was having (it wasn’t easy enough to Tweet!), studying data to understand how we could improve, trying it out, and listening to your feedback. We’ll continue listening and working to make Twitter easier for everyone while making sure we keep what you love.
Learning how to edit your work is key, friends.
Twitter also is touting the fact that people who had an expanded character limit received better engagement numbers (though notice their phrasing makes no specific references to the longer tweets themselves).
In addition to more Tweeting, people who had more room to Tweet received more engagement (Likes, Retweets, @mentions), got more followers, and spent more time on Twitter. People in the experiment told us that a higher character limit made them feel more satisfied with how they expressed themselves on Twitter, their ability to find good content, and Twitter overall.
On the bright side, that’s double the characters for you to accidentally transpose with no way to edit, and double the characters for you to threaten someone without repercussion, and double the characters to….
Alright, you get the point. When it comes down to “issues with Twitter,” not having enough characters was pretty far down the damn list, if it was even on the list at all. After awhile, we’ll stop noticing long tweets in our newsfeeds (unless they keep getting bounced to the top, in case we missed them), but right now, Twitter is rubbing a lot of people the wrong way with this move.