Enlarge / Jack Dorsey, co-founder and chief government officer of Twitter.

The 140-character restrict is Twitter’s defining function and likewise its most controversial. Critics say that it makes the service confining and unfriendly to new customers. Defenders say that enforced brevity is what makes the service so helpful.

Twitter is contemplating doubling the restrict. In a Tuesday weblog publish, Twitter introduced restricted variety of customers will likely be given the power to make use of as much as 280 characters in a tweet.

It would appear to be increasing the restrict will solely trigger folks to pack extra data in to every tweet. However Twitter argues that is not really the case. They level to the expertise of Japanese, the place a richer character set means which you can say extra with fewer characters. Japanese customers are topic to the identical 140-character restrict English customers are, however they discover the restrict a lot much less constraining:

Whereas 9 % of English tweets use the complete 140 characters, lower than one % of tweets in Japan are that lengthy. This means that doubling the character restrict for tweets will enable English customers to precise themselves extra comfortably—with out making a temptation to create lengthy, un-Twitter-like screeds.

Twitter plans to make the change for all languages aside from Chinese language, Japanese, and Korean—languages whose massive character units make the rise pointless.

The rise is “solely accessible to a small group proper now,” Twitter says. The corporate goes to guage the outcomes from this trial earlier than deciding whether or not to broaden the character restrict for all Twitter customers.

When rumors swirled final yr that Twitter may broaden the character restrict to 10,000 characters, Ars Technica’s personal Peter Shiny wrote a powerful screed towards the proposal.

“The 140-character restrict just isn’t merely some incidental function of Twitter; it is the very essence of the service,” Shiny wrote. “The mandate to be concise implies that Twitter distinguishes itself from considerable standard running a blog platforms. Tweets will be observations, jokes, questions, or fastidiously distilled concepts, however they can’t be prolonged treatises or complicated arguments.”

Shiny is not a fan of the 280-character growth, both. In a Slack dialog right this moment, he known as it a “bizarre nothingburger” that might break third-party shoppers with out fixing any actual issues with the platform.


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