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Oh, how times have changed – 280 characters to be exact!

A few days back Twitter decided to officially launch the #280characters feature, where the character count for a tweet was increased from 140 characters to 280 characters.

That was enough for the whole Twitterverse to explode!

So many mixed opinions and emotions shared on this topic from different aspects – hard to state them all!

but…

In the Pros group, some were happy not to have to find creative ways to convey their message in a 140 character restriction and be able to express their thoughts in a more complete manner. Others also viewed it as added value towards social engagement.

In the Cons group, some shared the belief that it would affect the entire brevity benefit Twitter offered and that it would lose its structure and core essence. Others also stated that when participating in Twitter chats, they felt overwhelmed by longer tweets and that  it became a struggle to read them as chats run in a fast pace.

For me personally, it is an undecided verdict.

At first, when Twitter first announced its intention to roll out this new character increase, I was hesitant as I did not think there was a real reason for it (truth be told, I still don’t!).

In a relevant blog post, Twitter stated that the reason for this change is that they “want every person around the world to easily express themselves on Twitter” pointing to the struggle people have of conveying information in a tweet, within the 140 character limit, using Latin characters in comparison to other language character use.

…in languages like Japanese, Korean, and Chinese you can convey about double the amount of information in one character as you can in many other languages, like English, Spanish, Portuguese, or French.

Trust me, no argument from me. The struggle is real!

But the findings of the test trial were interesting!

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 (more on this below). 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.

The findings attest to people rallying for brevity as they use less than 140 characters and how 280 characters are a few characters too many. Maybe a smaller character count would have been a better choice?

As with every novelty, reactions are bound to surge.

It is not a do or die situation, although certainly impactful. The bottom line is, simply put, 140 characters was what set Twitter apart.

Fact is, they are there. People can simply use up the 280 characters or not, depending on their needs. The point is people can use them (or not), just should not abuse them.

As such, I wonder if this increase will make an actual difference, for better or worse.

  • Will people adapt and adopt after the initial ‘shock’ and novelty wear out or find ‘creative’ ways to use or overuse (abuse)?
  • Will Twitter actually loose its initial purpose and modus operandi and morph into yet another extensive conversational social platform?

I guess we will just have to wait and see!

In the meantime, happy tweeting!

Would love to hear your thoughts on this topic in the comment section!

Good vibes only and have a great day!
Natasha

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