Things are about to get a whole lot longer on Twitter.
The social media platform, famous for its 140 character limit, announced on Wednesday it will test a 280-character limit for tweets.
“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),” Twitter said in a blog post.
“We understand since many of you have been tweeting for years, there may be an emotional attachment to 140 characters – we felt it, too.”
“But we tried this, saw the power of what it will do, and fell in love with this new, still brief, constraint.”
In a tweet, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey showed off the new limit would maintain the platform’s “brevity, speed and essence”.
“Proud of how thoughtful the team has been in solving a real problem people have when trying to tweet,” he said.
Why did the original character limit exist?
The original 140-character limit was created so tweets would fit in a single text message back when people used Twitter that way.
But most people now use Twitter through its mobile app, where there isn’t the same technical constraint.
Originally, our constraint was 160 (limit of a text) minus username. But we noticed @biz got 1 more than @jack. For fairness, we chose 140. Now texts are unlimited. Also, we realize that 140 isn't fair—there are differences between languages. We're testing the limits. Hello 280!
— Biz Stone (@biz) September 26, 2017
Twitter has already eased the original restrictions and doesn’t count photos, videos, polls and other things toward the character limit.
And users have found creative ways to get around the restrictions, including taking screenshots of blocks of text and highlighting relevant phrases.
The news didn’t go down well on Twitter
Plenty of users took the chance to question Twitter’s decision to increase the character limit while it still deals with complaints it doesn’t do enough to limit harassment.
twitter: what do you guys want
everyone: get rid of the nazis and fix the report system
twitter: did I hear 280 characters
— Goth Ms. Frizzle (@spookperson) September 26, 2017
Oh FFS this is real?! I thought people were kidding. Don't do this. Bad idea. https://t.co/Ri7xlNoBfB
— Sarah Kendzior (@sarahkendzior) September 26, 2017
Others wonder what the new limit would mean for the Donald Trump:
The only upside to 280-character tweets is potentially fewer terrifying Trump threats that trail off "…" and take 20 minutes to resolve.
— Josh Gondelman (@joshgondelman) September 26, 2017
With 280 characters now trump can start a nuclear war and a war with the NFL in one tweet. What a time to be alive
— dan (@dannolan) September 26, 2017
And the rest were just in it for the laughs:
139 characters pic.twitter.com/WkfdXL8oLh
— Caitlin Kelly (@caitlin__kelly) September 26, 2017
Now that we have 280 character tweets I'm just going to quote song lyrics at length, like MSN Messenger screen names circa 2003
— Michael Koziol (@michaelkoziol) September 26, 2017
Oh wow you guys it seems I'm one of the small group of users to get the 280 character Twitter expansion this is just so exciting and will let me tweet much more complex thoughts and hilarious jokes so let me start by thanking Jack Dorsey and Twitter for enabling me to better shar
— Petra #VoteYEStarke (@petstarr) September 26, 2017
Twitter said it would keep users posted about the trial, and if it decides to roll out the feature to everyone.