In late 2017, social media platform Twitter announced its plans to increase its tweet word limit from 140 to 280 characters. The change initially divided users, with some saying that the platform needed to address more toxic issues first. Here, Jade Ziola-Sammons, senior account executive and social media specialist explains the switch and what impact it has had to how we use the platform. 

The character increase was one of many updates that Twitter implemented in 2017, including stopping media and tagged replies from being counted against the existing 140-character limit. However, when the doubled character count came into effect, many wondered why the metaphorical boat needed rocking.

Aliza Rosen, product manager at Twitter, explained at the time that the change had been designed to remove constraint for users, particularly for languages that use Roman alphabet-based letters. She explained that dialects like Japanese, Korean or Chinese were able to express around double the amount of information in a single letter.

This meant that, at the time, most Japanese tweets were only 15 characters long, while English tweets averaged 34 characters. But what difference has the change made?

Reports suggest that there has been a 54 per cent increase in the use of the word ‘please’, and a 22 per cent increase in the use of ‘thank you’ on the platform — and grammar has improved too. Abbreviations like ‘gr8’, ‘b4’ and ‘sry’ have reduced in use by 36, 13 and five per cent respectively.

In addition, more tweets are using question marks, suggesting a desire to encourage discussion on the platform. Despite the new possibilities, Twitter also reports that only one per cent of posts actually hit the 280-character limit.

As of August 2018, Twitter had 335 million monthly active users and on average, around 6,000 tweets are published every second — 500 million tweets per day. While it appears that not everyone is using the full character count available to them, the quality of people’s updates and the levels of engagement on the platform has seemingly improved.

So, in the era of online chatter and discussion, do you struggle to know what to say on social media, regardless of character count? Call us on +44(0)1785 225416 or email to ask us about assessing your social media strategy.
Or, of course, tweet us @StoneJunctionPR.
After all, you’ve got more characters to use now.

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