Twitter’s describing aspect has long been its brevity: 140 characters in a post and no more.
That is now set to change. Twitter said on Tuesday that it would test ranging the text limit of a post on its use to 280 characters. (In side effect, that would dual the length of the first two sentences of this paragraph; those sentences, for the history, add up to 140 characters.)
Twitter said the aim was to exclude what it noticed as restraints that kept people from tweeting more generally. One symbolic barrier, according to Twitter’s internal analysis, has been the binding limit on character count.
“When people don’t have to crowd their thoughts into 140 characters and really have some to unused, we look more people tweeting,” Twitter said in a blog post.
It is important moments for the 11-year-old Twitter, which has been attempting to find out how to change the social media service without dividing the people who have grasp its short format.
The concept of extending the length of Twitter posts has been combative internally, batted around among product groups that are attempting to find ways to assure people to usage the service more generally. At 328 million clients, Twitter has been blamed for its failure to attract more people. Shareholders have grown afraid, as that curtailing of user growth has impressed the company’s profit.
Last year, Twitter tried extending its character count by permitting people to post photos and GIFs without calculating them against the global character limit. It also toyed with longer posts outpacing 140 characters, until criticism from customers caused Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s chief executive, to affirm that the limit was here to stay.
Twitter is now preparing for a reaction from those who might take problem with a 280-character tweet.
In case anyone is wondering why 280 characters is a bad idea, it’s because THE TWEET IS NOW TOO LONG TO FIT ON TWITTER pic.twitter.com/WaUOMLAYiQ
— Sarah Kendzior (@sarahkendzior) September 26, 2017
“We explain since many of you have been tweeting for years, there may be an affecting attachment to 140 characters,” the company said. “But we tried this, saw the power of what it will do, and fell in love with this new, still brief, resraint.”
The negative feedback was swift, however. Some on Twitter affirmed it a “terrible think.”
Still, Twitter pointed to people who post mainly in Japanese, Chinese and Korean, languages with alphabets that permit the expression of more thoughts in fewer characters. Those customers tend to bang up against the character limits less often, which Twitter said margins to more usual messages.
As a result, Twitter said, if rules around characters are loosened, English-speaking customers — who tend to use more characters in tweets — will also blow character limits less generally. That may, in turn, lead English-speaking users to post more commonly.
The test will start in small groups around the world. The company has not said whether it will roll the change out to all customers in the future.
Twitter said the people who will get to test the 280-character tweets will be anyway selected. Whether that may consist of prominent Twitter users like President Trump is obscure.
Mr. Trump has often utilized Twitter to declare policy decisions, which has sometimes led to heat on the service. This week, there was a revived call to bar Mr. Trump from utilizing Twitter after Kim Jong-un, the leader of North Korea, said new intemperate tweets from Mr. Trump should be treated “a declaration of war.” On Monday, Twitter expressed a statement from its policy team saying that it took a number of elements into account when dealing with abuses of the company’s user agreement, including the “newsworthiness” of the tweet.
In the end, “Tweets get correct to the point with the data or thoughts that matter,” the company said of the 280-character tweet test. “That is something we will never change.”