After just over a month of testing, social media platform Twitter has increased its 140-character limit to 280 characters for almost all of its global users. The change has been implemented across all languages where ‘cramming’ was deemed an issue. Twitter has said that the move can help users gain more followers and increase engagement with others.
The microblogging site currently boasts 330 million monthly active users, however not all of them were happy with the change. While many users have compared the newly updated Twitter to a ‘poor version of Facebook’, others have been tweeting the trending #140club hashtag and are choosing to completely boycott the change. One twitter user said:
‘Unfollowing anyone who has 280 characters or who retweet those that do. I came here for a good time not a long time #140club’
On the other hand, many users have embraced this new change, and the #280club tweets are starting to pour in. It seems people on social media have more to say nowadays, and twitter has given them more room to say it. Needless to say, it’s a potential political minefield of whether we want to hear what everyone has to say in 280 characters, but time will tell on how truly embraced the change is. I have no doubt that it will only be a matter of weeks until those who were initially against the increase will adapt, leaving the 140 characters a distant memory. Nevertheless, there will always be others that will reject the change out of principle.
My personal opinion on the update? While it may not had been my choice if asked in a survey, (I would had suggested keeping 140 characters but be able to post links that didn’t use up any of those characters, much like you can do with images – thank you for asking) I believe that it will benefit me when building content for some of my clients.
As most digital content builders would agree, it can be tough to fit certain messages and information into a single tweet without compromising the quality of the grammar. The extended character limit will certainly make this aspect much easier. However, should we feel we have to expand all tweets just because we can? No. I believe we should continue to use Twitter as we always have, if we dip into extra characters then what’s the harm?
I do however hope that this isn’t the start of further changes. Although 280 characters is still a low enough amount to be classed as ‘microblogging’, it’s my belief that any more future character increases will take away what makes Twitter what it is. I’m interested to see what inventive ways users find to implement it, we are already seeing it being used to play Twitter Tetris and chess, admittedly a very slow version of the game but one of the first new ways to use your twitter in the wake of the change.