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Twitter Expands Tweets to 280 Characters — Except in Chinese, Japanese and Korean

Twitter officially expanded its 140-character count limit to 280, extending the coverage of an earlier test that sought to help users express themselves more easily.

But not all 330 million users can tweet at the doubled length. Apparently, Chinese, Japanese and Korean will remain at 140 characters “because cramming is not an issue in these languages,” Product Manager Aliza Rosen wrote in a blog post.

According to Rosen, the three Asian languages “have always been able to say more” due to the density of their writing systems.

When the expansion was first announced as a test in September, Twitter cited data that showed how users did with the original character limit. It turns out 9% of all English tweets hit such limit, while only 0.4% of all Japanese tweets do similarly. In addition, most English tweets have 34 characters, while Japanese tweets have 15.

During the test, Twitter found that users who tweeted more received more likes, retweets and mentions. However, only 5% of sent tweets were longer than 140 characters. Those above 190 accounted for a mere 2%.

“During the first few days of the test many people Tweeted the full 280 limit because it was new and novel, but soon after behavior normalized,” Rosen wrote. “We saw when people needed to use more than 140 characters, they Tweeted more easily and more often. But importantly, people Tweeted below 140 most of the time and the brevity of Twitter remained.”

That being said, Twitter does not expect a sustained explosion of lengthy tweets, but better expression:

“People in the experiment told us that a higher character limit made them feel more satisfied with how they expressed themselves on Twitter, their ability to find good content, and Twitter overall.”

Among them is President Donald Trump, who only took few minutes before posting his first tweet above the original limit:

What do you think of Twitter’s expanded tweets? Should Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages stay at 140 characters?


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