Twitter puts 280-character tweets to the test
Through all its design changes, one thing has stayed the same with Twitter: the character count. Since it launched in 2006, the social network has enforced a 140-character limit on all posts. That could all be set to change, pending the results of a limited trial that is currently underway.
According to Twitter, the 140-character limit was chosen arbitrarily. SMS messages had a 160 character limit at the time, and the team decided to undercut that figure for the sake of brevity.
The current limit isn't a problem in some parts of the world, because symbols or characters convey more information in certain languages. For example, Twitter says the average Japanese tweet is just 15 characters long, compared to 34 characters for English tweets. Only 0.4 percent of Japanese tweets hit the current character limit, compared to 9 percent in English.
Users in all languages bar Japanese, Chinese and Korean will be trialling a 280-character limit, in the hopes it will encourage people to send more tweets. Twitter says the changes are designed to make it easier for users to share their thoughts or ideas, while maintaining the brevity for which it's famous.
At the moment, the higher character limit is, er, limited to a small group of people. If the response is positive, it'll be rolled out across the network.