A random cross-section of the Twitter community have had their character limits doubled, as the social network tests the idea of permanently changing the limit to 280 characters.
The current 140-character limit has been in place since the company was founded 11 years ago, but the people behind the idea insist that the proposed change will give users greater freedom to express themselves and will therefore serve as an extension of Twitter’s values and traditions.
Not everyone agrees, and the idea is proving particularly controversial with users themselves, who are known for their vocal nature and their distaste for changes to the platform they love.
In the last few years, decisions such as the adopting of an algorithmic timeline, the introduction of a new way to reply to tweets, and the replacing of stars with hearts as the means of liking tweets have all been met with criticism from the existing Twitter community.
If bosses do get their way and the new, longer limit is rolled out to users on a permanent basis, it will be made available in all languages except Chinese, Japanese and Korean. These languages use scripts rather than letters, and so the 140-character limit is virtually never met as it is (in English, 9 percent of tweets reach the limit, whereas in Japanese the figure is 0.4).
Whilst many feel an emotional attachment to the 140 character limit, with the brevity of tweets essentially being the defining and distinguishing characteristic of the platform, the limit was set back when users were expected to send and read tweets by text messages (running up to 160 characters).
This led some at the top of the company to feel that the 140 limit is an anachronism that is being kept more out of nostalgia than practicality.
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