Twitter Doubling Its Character Limit For Most Languages

Twitter is a platform that forces you to be so succinct with your thoughts and feelings that things can be lost for the sake of brevity, except in direct messages, but the company has announced that languages shown by their data to be impacted by this issue will be getting double the tweet space going forward, allowing users to share their thoughts freely. The company has found, through research, that the tendency of single characters to mean more in some languages gives them a disproportionate space in which to tweet compared to users tweeting in other languages, and this new change is meant to remedy that and even things up, allowing users in any language to say roughly the same per tweet as those using languages that are less impacted. Specifically, users tweeting in any language besides Chinese, Japanese, and Korean will have double the available characters going forward.

Twitter's research that enabled it to come to this decision consisted of not only looking at character value between languages, but at where the average tweets fall from language to language, and how often tweets max out the character limit. The findings were that tweets in English tended to hit the character limit around nine percent of the time, while less than one percent of Tweets in Japanese did the same. Likewise, tweets in English averaged 34 characters, versus only 15 characters for the average Japanese tweet. To show some more examples, Twitter translated a Tweet between English, Spanish, and Japanese, showing the differences in character value between the three languages based on word and phrase formation. A tweet that took 140 characters in English ended up stretching to 154 in Spanish, but only taking a scant 67 characters in Japanese, leaving over half of the character limit unused.

This change is not effective immediately and will be rolling out over time, meaning that mobile users may have to update the app to see the change. Twitter's announcement of the new feature mentioned that this change is meant to be a test, so this may not be the new permanent character limit. The whole point of Twitter is to share a quick thought or feeling without meandering or going off on a tangent, so if future data shows that the new character limit is not being hit that often, the limit may be pared down a bit. 

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