Twitter does not leave, but doubles. Despite dropping in numbers (116.5 million losses in the second quarter of 2017), the social network launched by Jack Dorsey in 2006 revolutionized its main feature, that of 140 characters: in fact, it launched the experimentation of 280-character tweets, exactly twice. The 140 excess marks will be dimmed, with the possibility of being displayed by clicking on.
The choice would be dictated by linguistic reasons: unlike Oriental idioms, Neolithic languages and even English would require more words to express thoughts of meaning. “Our research shows us that the character limit is a major cause of frustration for people Tweeting in English – explain social network analysts – and that the limit will remain 140 characters in Japanese, Chinese and Korean. That is because tweets in those languages can already fit in a lot more information, as a single character might represent a noun”.
There is more: Twitter data shows that 9% of chirping languages in English reach the 140-character limit, while for Japanese tweets it’s only 0.4% of the time. “We are trying to extend the 140 to 280-character limit for those less “concise” languages (ie except Japanese, Chinese, and Korean) – the researchers say – although for the moment it is a test in place only for some languages, we want to be transparent about why we are excited about this experiment”.
The trial, whose timing and methods have not been disclosed, has aroused inevitably disparate comments, for more than 140 characters moment of Twitter users. The hashtag # twitter280 has quickly become a trending topic in the last few hours.
Dio, the satirical account, for example, writes: “Workout years to write in 140 characters, and now no longer need. I feel like Kevin Costner at the end of The Untouchables», while there are some who point out, like Federico Bezzi, that with “140 characters you can write a sea of slots, let alone with # twitter280”. While the fake profile coach Vujadin Boskov notes: “Give 280 characters to write the best tweet is like putting two balls into the field to do better playing poor teams.”
Twitter’s patron, Jack Dorsey, commented, inaugurating the 280 characters in a tweet: “This is a small change, but a big move for us. 140 was an arbitrary choice based on the 160-character SMS limit, Proud of how thoughtful the team has been in solving a real problem people have when trying to tweet. And at the same time maintaining our brevity, speed, and essence!”
In the end, if you stop for a moment, the broken wall of up to 280 characters is just one possibility. No one can stop us from continuing to use 140 or even less.