Social Media

Twitter has doubled its character limit – So What?

Scott Francis 3 mins read
Twitter has doubled its character limit – So What?

Twitter – the reportedly dying social media platform that was once the biggest thing since MySpace and the thinking person’s go-to for delivering concise, considered 140-character-including-spaces messages now repopularised by the leader of the free world and his terrible Tweets. (280 characters)

In September, the company announced that it would be doubling Tweet real estate in a seemingly bizarre departure from its 140-character limit that’s been its trademark since it first launched in 2006. Users now have the luxury of trying to fill 280 characters with their thoughts. (280 characters)

Unsurprisingly, this caused a bit of a stink amongst traditionalists and breathed new life into the Tweets of the less succinct. The literary thinker revelled in the challenge of crafting the perfect message. The rest CBFed and cheated the limit making up a made-up language, LOL. (280 characters)


Pop Quiz: Why did Twitter have a character limit in the first place?

If you’re old enough you’ll recall 140-character text messages. At the same time, people were receiving Tweets via SMS hence the same limit. (140 characters)


The change rolled out on Tuesday but not everyone has it yet. For example, our company profile has the increase, but some staff personal accounts don’t. And writing Tweets in Chinese, Japanese and Korean won’t get the increase because these languages already use fewer characters. (280 characters)


What does 140 characters look like?

This paragraph is one hundred and forty characters long, Twitter’s previous limit. Pretty lengthy right? Enough space, say, to make a point. (140 characters)


But why change it? Twitter said 9% of Tweets in English hit the old 140 and users were spending more time editing Tweets than sending them with many not Tweeting at all because the moment had passed. Not a compelling argument, but perhaps an attempt to grow a dwindling user-base? (280 characters)

Admittedly, ‘dwindling’ is not exactly accurate, it’s more like stuck at around 330 million users. Not bad, but that number isn’t growing hence why they’re trying new things. On the other hand, their market value has definitely ‘dwindled’. By a few billion. More reason to change. (280 characters)


Fun Fact: Donald Trump is worth about $2billion to Twitter

Trump has over 36 million followers and 35,000+ Tweets since 2009. There’s interest in Twitter again – people can’t wait to see what absurd thing he’ll say next. And free advertising from the president of the USA just can’t be beat which might be why they haven’t cut him off yet. (280 characters)


Who could benefit from this? Well it’s a marketers’ delight (if you use Twitter) because now you can say more to your customers. Just look at @IvankaTrump. She’s doing a great job of marketing pressing issues like doubling child tax credit. And handbags. And shoes. And fragrance. (280 characters)

Closer to home, The Equality Campaign (Congrats on the YES!) used Twitter successfully throughout their campaign. The effectiveness of this channel surprised Lee Steph, Digital Campaigner, who couldn’t believe the reach of Twitter, and the low cost of advertising on the platform. (280 characters)

At a great event hosted by Autopilot during the Sydney Spark Festival, The Equality Campaign revealed that Twitter worked exceptionally well for #YES, without having the 240-character increase yet. Remember marketers – utilise every available channel, and don’t write off Twitter. (280 characters)

If it worked for basic human rights, it could work for your business. Especially if you have 280 characters to play with. But’s that’s only if you think your Twitter following will invest twice the effort to read your posts. Remember: short is sweet, exercise brevity if possible. (280 characters)

Which camp are you in? Short, concise, well-thought-out Tweets skirting the 140-character limit, or Tweeting with joy about the 280 freedom? (140 characters)

Thankfully POTUS doesn’t have the increase, but really, who needs 280 characters when COVFEFE? (51 Characters)


Need help growing your business with digital marketing? Run a free site audit to see how we’ll get you more customers & make you more money. (140 Characters)


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of DigitalMaas

Scott Francis

Scott brings innovation to every solution he offers. With his unwavering passion for technology, he applies only the best practices in developing company products and optimizing business processes.