Well, Twitter actually went through with it. After experimenting with increasing its character limit to 280 characters, the social media platform has officially announced that it would expand this new character limit to all users, in nearly all languages (except Chinese, Japanese and Korean).
This may sound familiar since Rachel wrote about Twitter’s character limit experiment a month ago here. In her post, she states that she believes that this change would be a “poor branding decision by Twitter as brevity is at the core… of what it is.” And initially, I couldn’t have agreed more. Which is why this news received a dramatic and most likely unnecessary eye roll from me.
Rachel and I aren’t the only ones who feel this way. There has been plenty of backlash against this decision, to which Twitter argues that the changes is an improvement to the service. According to them, the company’s month-long 280 character test showed that “people who had more room to Tweet received more engagement, got more followers, and spent more time on Twitter.”
When explained this way, it’s nigh impossible to see the benefits of this. And as part of an agency that offers social media management to its clients, it could be something I can get on board with in the future… could (I’m still not sold)! It would save me some time shortening each social media post I create for this specific platform.
My biggest argument against this change is that I’d rather not see the service fundamentally altered—their character restriction made them unique! The network has been fast to respond to this criticism as well, stating that during its trial run, “only five percent of Tweets sent were longer than 140 characters, and only two percent were over 190 characters.” But who’s to say how long this pattern will last?
Unfortunately, the key executives at Twitter failed to consult me on this modification (I know, I’m shocked) so the situation is truly out of my hands. For the time being, I’m just trying to keep an open mind about this change… who knows; maybe I’ll come to like it?
How do the rest of you feel about Twitter’s character limit expansion?