Twitter, once described as a micro-blogging service because of the 140-character limit on posts, just got a little bit bigger. The company announced Tuesday that it will test extending the text limit of a post to 280 characters, double the existing 140.
Twitter said that the goal is to remove “constraints” that prevent people from tweeting more frequently. One obvious beneficiary of the move will be US President and Twitter aficionado Donald Trump, who has frequently tested the character limit of Twitter in multi-tweet rants.
“We want every person around the world to easily express themselves on Twitter, so we’re doing something new: we’re going to try out a longer limit, 280 characters, in languages impacted by cramming (which is all except Japanese, Chinese, and Korean),” the company wrote in a blog post.
It used data from Twitter’s different languages to determine that when users run up against the character limit, they’re less likely to tweet. “Our research shows us that the character limit is a major cause of frustration for people Tweeting in English, but it is not for those Tweeting in Japanese. Also, in all markets, when people don’t have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and actually have some to spare, we see more people Tweeting – which is awesome!”
The blog post also emphasized that this will only roll out to “small groups” initially, with no indication of who or where those might be. “What matters most is that this works for our community – we will be collecting data and gathering feedback along the way,” the blog post reads.
The move is obviously a significant volte-face for Twitter, which has stood by its 140-character limit for years. But with a slowing of user growth, engagement, and revenue, Twitter’s going to try almost anything to make you tweet more.