Twitter – will 280 characters make a difference?

Social media giant Twitter recently decided to drop its long-standing and unique 140-character limit to its tweets for almost all its users around the world.

This pronouncement was arrived at after testing out the idea among certain users for over a month. The micro-blogging website, which has close to 330 million monthly active users, raised its character cap to 280 for all languages where ‘cramming’ can often be an issue.

The entire concept is a significantly huge change for the site. However, Twitter management heads say that the move was geared towards helping it gain more users and offer a more open platform for engagement.

However, those who tweet in Korean, Japanese, Chinese, will not be able to enjoy this new character cap. The company said the reason behind this was that cramming was not really an issue for these languages since the density of their writing systems enabled individuals to say much more using a fewer characters.

According to officials from Twitter, 9% of tweets using the English language reach the 140-character limit, which is quite high compared to Japanese where only 0.4% of them hit the 140-character limit mark.

Twitter officials also revealed that the company had some reservations on whether or not the users who tested out the 280-character word limit would use all of them each time they tweeted, but this did not happen.

Will 280 characters make a difference?

The truth of the matter is that it depends upon the nature and purpose of the message. Doubling the number of characters you can use on Twitter will not make much of a difference for the tweet designed to direct traffic to your blog or website when it is relatively easy to create a clear and compelling message within 140 characters.

Content copy writers will tell you that if you were not able to strategically apply the previous 140-characters, 280 will not make much of a difference. The new limit will only mean something if you can use the extra characters to capitalise on what you were already using.

However, a 280-character limit is likely to change readers experience and responses. Due to the additional characters, website owners might see lead conversations through Twitter in a way that has not been possible in the past and greater engagement is anticipated.

Twitter executives said that they expected the new character limit to create some level of excitement among users, which would more than likely translate to increased exposure for blogs, business sites, and other ecommerce platforms. They also went on to say that, the people who embraced the 280-character limit positively received more mentions, likes, retweets, got more followers, and users revisited their tweets a whole lot more.

In most cases, when it comes to blogs and business websites, their main agenda behind using Twitter is to promote their goods or services. With a 280-character limit, owners of such platforms can do this a bit more easily than before. The important thing is to know and understand what you are trying to achieve with each tweet. You have to make sure that each character counts in the end.


The new character limit is set to change the face of Twitter in a substantial way and as with all things, early embracers stand to gain a short term competitive edge.

It is noted however, that Twitter executives promise to keep a close eye on this new development to ensure that users get what they need and want.

If you would like more information on the ‘Twitter 280’ or to discuss your marketing issues in general, please contact Chris on 07742 664662.

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