Twitter to double tweet limit to 280 characters
Twitter to double tweet limit to 280 characters
Giving users twice the space to voice their thoughts ushers in a new era for the online platform, whose hallmark 140-character cap had encouraged users to craft succinct missives.
“We’re expanding the character limit! We want it to be easier and faster for everyone to express themselves,” tweeted the site, which started testing an increase to its limit in most languages in early September.
The changes will be rolling out in all languages except Japanese, Korean, and Chinese, in which space limitations have not been an issue, Twitter said.
It is the first time the tweet character cap has been raised since Twitter was founded 11 years ago.
Twitter, which has been lagging behind rival social networks in user growth and struggling to reach profitability, faced a dilemma over the change in that it could alienate longtime users and transform the nature of the service.
Product manager Aliza Rosen said in a blog post that the test showed most people still used 140 characters or fewer, suggesting the fast-moving nature of Twitter will not change.
“Our goal was to make this possible while ensuring we keep the speed and brevity that makes Twitter, Twitter,” Rosen said. “We’re excited to share we’ve achieved this goal and are rolling the change out to all languages where cramming was an issue.”
Rosen noted that in the first few days of the test many people used the full 280-limit because it was new and novel, “but soon after behavior normalized.”
As a result, “the brevity of Twitter remained,” she said.
While Twitter itself changed the way people communicate in the Internet age, doubling the tweet character limit promised to shift it once again, according to Jennifer Grygiel, an assistant professor of communications at Syracuse University.
“It will slow down the speed at which users consume information and will allow for more clarity,” Grygiel said.
“This might not be a bad thing during a time when world leaders are making military threats via the platform.”
US President Donald Trump favors the platform for making major policy announcements, as well as criticizing allies, taunting opponents and threatening North Korea with destruction.
He sent his inaugural 280-tweet while on South Korea as part of his Asia tour: “Getting ready to make a major speech to the National Assembly here in South Korea, then will be headed to China where I very much look forward to meeting with President Xi who is just off his great political victory.”
Some users have worried that longer tweets could profoundly change the nature of the one-to-many messaging platform, which is popular with journalists and politicians but has failed to win the mass appeal of rivals like Facebook.
There was also worry that raising the character cap would give blowhards and abusers more room to spout.
“I will gladly give up my extra 140 characters if Twitter will delete Trump’s account,” author and civil rights commentator DaShanne Stokes said in a tweet fired off from @dashannestokes.
Stokes said Twitter’s move gives Trump “a bigger weapon with which to hurt more people.”
Twitter, which became a public company in 2013, has never reported a profit, even though it has built a loyal base of celebrities, journalists and political figures, including prolific tweeter Trump.
Twitter co-founder Biz Stone said that longer test tweets got tended to prompt more engagement by others using the service.
“In addition to more Tweeting, people who had 280 characters received more Likes, Retweets, @mentions, Followers, and were more satisfied with Twitter. So, you’ll be getting 280 too — enjoy!” Stone tweeted.
Some analysts maintain longer tweets are not the fix Twitter needs, and may even change the appealing ability to take in messages with glances.
It also risks Twitter looking a bit more like Facebook, one analyst contended, and might prompt the leading online social network to respond to what it might see as a competitive threat.
Meanwhile, many users welcomed the news and said raising the character cap was long overdue. Some people already resort to long strings of rapid-fire tweets, known as “tweet storms,” to string together lengthy comment.
Last month, Twitter reported its loss for the past quarter narrowed as the company suggested it could reach profitability for the first time in the fourth quarter.
The update showed Twitter’s monthly active user base rose slightly to 330 million, roughly in line with forecasts.
Malika Favre: Artist who put Saudi women in the driver’s seat
- In September 2017, King Salman issued a decree declaring an end to the decades-long ban from June 2018
- Some three million women in Saudi Arabia could receive licences and actively begin driving by 2020
French artist Malika Favre has created iconic covers for “The New Yorker” magazine, with animations that have gone viral online. So she was the natural choice for Arab News to illustrate our souvenir edition commemorating the day when women are allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia.
As Faisal J. Abbas, editor in chief of Arab News, explained: “Our website and newspaper — which today features a striking cover illustration by artist Malika Favre — will provide comprehensive coverage of both the immediate impact and wide-reaching, long-term social benefits of this move.”
From her base in London, Favre explained why the idea immediately appealed. “For me, it’s exactly the kind of subject that I want to work with and tackle today. I’ve been increasingly involved with women’s issues over the past few years, with The New Yorker as well.
“These stepping stones are extremely important, and they should be celebrated. It’s also something that as a woman I feel very strongly about.”
What made our global creative director, Simon Khalil, think that the in-demand artist would take his assignment on? “As a champion of women for years through her unique creative style, Malika Favre was the obvious choice,” he said. “Her illustration brilliantly captures the significance of this moment on the day Saudi Arabia changed forever.”
For the illustration, called “Start Your Engines,” Favre began with the idea of “something quite subtle, not aggressive, something celebratory,” coming up with an image of a “beautiful, Arabic woman” that tells a story within a story.
“So, basically, I had this idea of looking at the car from the point of view of the woman who is driving, and so maybe the first thing you see is a woman with a headscarf and quite a colorful image, but then on the second layer you see what’s happening and you see that she is driving the car,” Favre said.
The image of her hands on the wheel, and that iconic Gulf vehicle, a white SUV, are reflected in her sunglasses. These are animated online. “I really like the idea of this woman being on the road, because I think symbolically it’s about going forward,” she said. “That is also a positive element, to create a positive image of what this historic moment will change.”
The topic also resonated with Favre because her mother, while she was born in France, is Algerian. “For her, she always wanted to have the same rights as everyone else. She was a big advocate for that. She raised me in that way as well. So for her it’s also an important cover on a personal level.”
When asked about her favorite assignments, Favre referenced “Operating Theatre” for The New Yorker’s “Health, Medicine & the Body” issue last year.
“It was an extremely important project because it went totally viral.”
In her illustration, female surgeons are arranged in a circle looking down, as if the viewer is on the operating table. In the animation, the image is viewed as if through a blinking eyelid. Women surgeons around the world started re-enacting Favre’s cover, sharing more than 5,000 photos, with the hashtags #NYerORCoverChallenge and #ILookLikeASurgeon.
“For me, it was a very important moment,” Favre said. “It reached out to an audience that wasn’t design-focused. It was something very profound that spoke to these women, and they took it as a very strong statement of let’s celebrate women surgeons.”
Does Favre think the women of Saudi Arabia are up for such an assignment? “I think it definitely has the potential to do that as well,” she said. Challenge accepted.
• Download our free #SaudiWomenCanDrive mobile phone background designed by renowned artist Malika Favre: https://startyourengines.21wallpaper.design