Twitter Doubles Character Limit (for Latin Based Alphabets like English)

Marketers rejoice (maybe). You may soon have double the character limit for languages based on Latin alphabets (such as English). That is about every western alphabet and excludes languages such as Japanese, Chinese, and Korean).

Starting this week, some accounts will already have the character limit increased. You will need to login to your Twitter account to find out if you are one of the lucky ones.

THE REASONS FOR THIS CHANGE MAY SURPRISE YOU

Twitter looked at languages and how many characters it takes to express yourself. The company found that languages based on Latin alphabets are impacted the most by “cramming.”

Cramming is when a tweet includes words that are condensed or omitted so that the user can express themselves. Sometimes with cramming important words are omitted, that may not accurately describe the meaning of the tweet.

Other times, people can’t figure out shortcodes if they are not familiar with them or they try to read a tweet in a foreign language.

Inadvertently, the company realized that users in Japanese, Korean, and Chinese languages have a distinct advantage over English and other Latin alphabets.

The Asian style alphabets allow for more expression with fewer characters. The company created a nifty graphic to demonstrate the Asian language advantage.

Image: Twitter | Compare English with Japanese Characters Usage in Tweets
Image: Twitter | Compare English with Japanese Characters Usage in Tweets

Twitter found that almost 20x as many English tweets hit the 140 character limit versus Japanese tweets.

To equalize the playing field, Twitter decided it would experiment to expand to 280 characters for English, Spanish, German, and other non-Asian languages.

HASHTAG HELL?

Of course, this brings up the question, will this lead to even more hashtag spamming?

The company did not address the fact this could allow marketers to include more hashtags per tweet to try to capture more eyeballs.

Maybe the reason for the small user test is to see how many users will abuse the system. It is a lot easier to reign in a small group than to try to change the policy again for all users.

We will be watching this experiment and update you as we learn more if the social media giant is expanding it. What do you think of the possibility of an expanded tweet character limit? Is 280 too much? Let us know in the comments section below.

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