Analysis: Twitter’s testing a 280-character limit for tweets

Twitter chief government Jack Dorsey final yr made a definitive announcement concerning the firm’s well-known one hundred forty-character rely amid rumors that the agency would considerably loosen up the restrict. “It’s staying,” Dorsey informed the “At this time” present’s Matt Lauer. “It’s a very good constraint for us.”

On Tuesday, the corporate took it again – for some individuals, at the least.

Beginning Tuesday, Twitter stated, it’s testing a function to let some customers double the quantity of characters allowed in a tweet. The 280-character restrict will solely be obtainable to a small group of individuals on the location. When requested for extra info, Twitter stated it will be a “single-digit proportion” of its 328 million customers – so, hundreds of thousands – who might be “randomly chosen.”

The corporate declined to remark instantly on the way it’s selecting these individuals or why it modified its thoughts about sticking to its one hundred forty-character restrict. However in an organization weblog submit, product supervisor Aliza Rosen and senior software program engineer Ikuhiro Ihara stated the staff began wanting into the restrictions of the one hundred forty-character restrict after noticing variations amongst languages.

Some languages – particularly Chinese language, Japanese and Korean – permit for higher expression in fewer characters, Rosen and Ihara stated.

“We see that a small % of tweets despatched in Japanese have one hundred forty characters (solely zero.four%). However in English, a a lot greater proportion of tweets have one hundred forty characters (9%). Most Japanese tweets are 15 characters whereas most English tweets are 34,” the publish stated.

The 280-character check will roll out in all languages apart from Chinese language, Japanese and Korean.

It’s true that some languages permit every character to rely for extra. My very own final identify, Tsukayama, is 9 letters in English; phonetically in Japanese, it’s 4 letters. In the event you use Japanese kanji characters, it’s three.

However Twitter customers in different languages have discovered workarounds to bypass the one hundred forty-character restrict. It’s widespread to see somebody ship out a thread, or “Twitterstorm,” by signaling that their ideas are going to return in a number of chew-sized chunks – i.e., typing 1/6 to notice the primary installment of six associated tweets. Twitter itself did this Tuesday morning, when addressing why it hasn’t suspended President Donald Trump from its platform.

Dorsey himself has used a standard workaround – posting a picture of longer textual content – to get across the character restrict, even whereas extolling the virtues of brevity early final…

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