Twitter expands character limit to 280 for most languages including Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil

BT Online   New Delhi     Last Updated: November 16, 2017  | 20:34 IST
Twitter expands character limit to 280 for most languages including Hindi, Kannada, Marathi, Tamil

Twitter's trademark 140 character-limit has finally come to an end at least for most Twitter users. The social network platform has increased the limit from 140 to 280 for all languages where cramming was an issue.

For India and the Indian diaspora, this update will apply to the six regional languages supported on the platform - Bengali, Gujarati, Hindi, Kannada, Marathi and Tamil.

In September, Twitter launched a test that expanded the 140 character limit to enable every person around the world to express themselves easily in a Tweet. Twitter's goal was to make that possible while maintaining the speed and brevity that makes it unique.

During the first few days of the test, many people Tweeted the full 280 limit because it was new and novel, but soon after, the behavior normalized (more on this below). Twitter saw when people needed to use more than 140 characters, they Tweeted more easily and more often. But importantly, people Tweeted below 140 most of the time and the brevity of Twitter remained.

Highlights are below and in Twitter's additional blogs about the experimentation process, extensive data analysis, research, and design work.

Easier to Tweet
Historically, 9% of Tweets in English hit the character limit. This reflects the challenge of fitting a thought into a Tweet, often resulting in lots of time spent editing and even at times abandoning Tweets before sending. With the expanded character count, this problem was massively reduced - that number dropped to only 1% of Tweets running up against the limit. Since Twitter saw Tweets hit the character limit less often, it believes people spent less time editing their Tweets in the composer. This shows that more space makes it easier for people to fit thoughts in a Tweet, so they could say what they want to say, and send Tweets faster than before.

Keeping Twitter's brevity
Twitter was concerned that timelines may fill up with 280 character Tweets, and people with the new limit would always use up the whole space, but that did not happen. Only 5% of Tweets sent were longer than 140 characters and only 2% were over 190 characters. As a result, the timeline reading experience on Twitter should not substantially change, and people will see about the same amount of Tweets in their timeline. For reference, in the timeline, Tweets with an image or poll usually take up more space than a 190 character Tweet.

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, according to the social media network.


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