December 10, 2018

New looks come to Snapchat and Twitter in bid for more users

09 November 2017, 01:22 | Ross Houston

Getting a thought out in 140 characters or less is a lost art now on Twitter.

Social media services Twitter and Snapchat announced this week they are taking on new looks.

Twitter officially expanded its 140-character count limit to 280, extending the coverage of an earlier test that sought to help users express themselves more easily. People ended up spending more time editing tweets or didn't send them out at all.

Starting on Tuesday, tweets reveled in the partial banishment of the old 140-character limit, while others lamented that Twitter might turn into a kind of Facebook after the change.

However, the move was welcomed by German Bundesliga side Borussia Mönchengladbach, who have had trouble fitting the full official name of their club into past tweets.

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Twitter was already testing the change with some users over the last couple of months.

Others were not as excited, including at least one person who repeated the words of Shakespeare: "Brevity is the soul of wit".

"People in the experiment told us that a higher character limit made them feel more satisfied with how they expressed themselves on Twitter, their ability to find good content, and Twitter overall", said project manager Aliza Rosen in a blog post. "We're willing to take that risk for what we believe are substantial long-term benefits to our business". In addition, most English tweets have 34 characters, while Japanese tweets have 15. Even before it did so, users found creative ways to get around the limit.

According to Rosen, the three Asian languages "have always been able to say more" due to the density of their writing systems.

Note that Twitter is increasing the character limit for most, but not all, languages.

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