Brevity, or concise writing, is the soul of Twitter.
So when Twitter announced on Tuesday that it's trialing 280 character tweets, some people couldn't help but feel that the soul of Twitter is in danger.
While the change is only available to a small group at the moment, people certainly have an opinion about the new development.
280 characters?! Holy shit if I could go back and edit all of my past tweets that cut off right before I reached what I actually wanted to s— michael popcorn (@Michael5SOS) September 26, 2017
If you're upset about the 280 characters thing, just imagine what John Kelly must be thinking— Amir Tibon (@amirtibon) September 26, 2017
I was thinking 280 characters might be twice the length of Trump's attention span...— George McClure (@gmcclure4) September 26, 2017
Twitter will test 280 characters pic.twitter.com/SokQL6Pqet— BreakPointBR (@BreakPointBR) September 26, 2017
Trump: I can only cause so much commotion with 140 characters. Oh well.
Twitter: Now, 280! Neat-o!!!
Trump: Mother of God, hold my beer— 🐸Bryce Howes🐸 (@xCptJackSparrow) September 26, 2017
It's a real mixture of outrage and frustration, but Twitter has some real reasons why this change has occured.
Twitter says it wants all of its users around the world to express themselves, regardless of the language they speak. According to Twitter, languages including English, French, Portuguese or Spanish use more characters in their tweets than those written in Korean, Japanese or Chinese. Most tweets in Japanese average on 15 characters, where those in English reach 34.
Further to this, nine percent of tweets in English reach the character limit, where a tiny 0.4 percent of those in Japanese hit the 140.
"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," Twitter said in a statement.
"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 140 character limit came about years ago, when a SMS system was developed to send messages to small groups of recipients. Eventually this became Twitter, and one of its biggest appeal factors in the early days was that is was -- and still is -- a mobile-based message system, where people could receive tweets on their phones.
Since the world wide standard text message size was 160 characters, the developers of Twitter made the tweet limit 140 characters, leaving enough room for the sender's name.This meant that people receiving a tweet via SMS would receive it in one single message under 160 characters. This way there was no extra info spilling over into messages or attachments.
With Twitter's new trial it seems we are doing away with a little piece of history, at least temporarily. Twitter will be monitoring data and feedback about the new trial and following this will announce any permanent changes to the platform.
Twitter claims it has an emotional attachment to the veteran 140 character limit, and honestly, it seems a lot of its users do as well.
280 characters is going to ruin twitter #MarkMyWords— Shane Rojek (@Rojek3151) September 26, 2017
Suggest a correction
Covfefe.— Marko Demantowsky (@mdemanto) September 26, 2017