Twitter users have always had their share of complaints. From the 140 characters per Tweet limit back in the day to the on going fight for an Edit tweet button, there are some things Twitter does that nobody seems to quite understand the logic behind.
How it started
When asked about the 140 character limit in an interview, Twitter creator Jack Dorsey said that it was SMS that inspired this move as Twitter primarily started as an SMS based service. He explained how SMS had a 160 character limit before the messages got split and that they imposed this limit to avoid hassle when tweets were shared via SMS. The character limit for a tweet was set to 140 and the rest of the 20 characters he said would be left for the username.
Advantage of The Limit On Character Count For Twitter
Through some of his tweets in the past, CEO jack Dorsey has exclaimed how this short character limit inspired a sense of speed, creativity and brevity and how it had become a beautiful constraint.
The social media game is at its peak right now. Everyone nowadays is on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, sharing moments of their lives, information, emotions, businesses and so on. What makes twitter stand out from all the other social media platforms is its ability to deliver sufficient information within a limited number of characters.
By this time, all of us know about the limited attention span of human beings. Therefore, while it may be difficult to curate a highly informative message using limited number of words, this can be used as an advantage in delivering information directly, in an agile and effective manner. This challenges the social media marketing strategies of companies but if done right, can prove to be highly effective.
The Updated Character Limit
Back in November 2017, in an attempt to allow its users to be more expressive, Twitter doubled its character limit from 140 to 280 Characters. “Our research shows us that the character limit is a major cause of frustration for people tweeting in English,” the company said in a blog post. “When people don’t have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and actually have some to spare, we see more people Tweeting — which is awesome!”
The company stated that they understood how users had to face the burden of editing their initial thoughts and framing them in ways that will allow them to fit under the character limit. The company doubled the character limit to make things convenient for what the call “languages impacted by cramming”. This includes all languages excluding Japanese, Chinese and Korean as users of these languages can fit more thoughts into the limited characters and barely need the extended limit.
Effect of the New Character Limit
According to research, Tweeting styles of users have not changed drastically after the change in character limit. Reports showed that a very low percentage of people actually ever used up the entire character limit and that hasn’t changed after the new limit was introduced.
What has changed though is the use of abbreviations. Users seem to have started using complete words, instead of abbreviations that would previously be used to fit certain words under the limit. Use of “text speak” like “u r,” “u8,” “b4″, “gr8” has decreased and complete words are being used instead.
Apart from this, users previously as well as now use the Thread method to share lengthy pieces of information or long stories.
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