With the recent update to the Twitter app, now you can fit twice as many characters in a tweet! This is a great thing for those who have very long tweets to make.
Currently, the max number of characters in a tweet is 280, which is far less than the traditional 1000 character limit that people had when Twitter first started. With the new update, you can also add photos and video directly into the tweet, which is fun.
While this seems like an easy change, it took lots of planning and re-working to achieve this new limit. The team working on the update had to rethink how they structured tweets so that they could fit in all of the necessary information while still reaching the 280 character mark.
The original Twitter limit was 140 characters
In late 2016, Twitter announced that it was changing the limit on tweets from 140 characters to twice that at 280 characters.
This was met with some controversy, with people wondering why the platform would increase the character limit if it wasn’t a problem in the first place.
However, since the update, Twitter has been experimenting with longer character limits. As of August 2018, Japan’s Twitter has a new 280 character limit while India has a whopping 350 character limit!
In both cases, users are saying that it takes more time to craft a tweet but that it’s better for conversation and engagement. It will be interesting to see if this experiment spreads or whether Twitter will keep the original 140 character limit.
The evolution of the Twitter character limit
The maximum number of characters in a tweet has changed several times over the past decade. As Twitter has evolved, so has the character limit.
Initially, tweets were restricted to just 140 characters – the total space available to convey a message. This was later increased to 180 characters, then 200, then back to 140. Now, tweets are set at a fixed 139 characters.
The change to 139 character tweets was announced in early 2018 and went into effect in late February of that year. The explanation for the reduction in length? It’s all about conversation.
Twitter believes that conversational context comes from replies and media links rather than the length of a tweet itself. By setting the limit at 139 characters, people are forced to either add more details in their tweets or engage in more back and forth conversation via replies and questions.
However, some users have complained that the new limit is too short, making it difficult to fit everything you want to say into a single tweet.
How to get around the character limit
While Twitter doesn’t currently offer any ways to account for character count, there are a few ways to get around the limit.
You can use symbols instead of words, which is what Twitter originally suggested. For example, you could write “great!” instead of “great.” However, this looks very strange and would look more like a tweet full of symbols than a statement. It also does not convey meaning very well.
Another way is to be very concise with your words. If you have enough to say in 140 characters or less, then there is no need to make the tweet longer. This can help you avoid adding extra characters that do not contribute to the message.
A third way is to split the message into several tweets. If you have something long to share but do not have enough characters, spread it out over several tweets with relevant hashtags and captions (if applicable).
Lengthy tweets should be sent as a link
When you have a long tweet that you want to send out into the world, think about whether it should be sent as a direct message or as a link instead.
If your message is brief but contains useful information, then send it as a direct message. If your message is lengthy or requires external content, then send it as a link.
Short tweets can fit in one character over the 140-character limit, so there is not much of an excuse to not shorten them. Even one extra character can make the difference between someone seeing your tweet or not.
Sending links out instead of using the tweet button on other websites allows you to keep your tweet short and clean while still getting the point across.
You can also use third-party sites like TwitLonger to send longer messages if needed without exceeding the character limit.
Consider using hyperlinks
While this may not be the most popular Twitter function, hyperlinks can be very useful. They can help you direct people to your blog or other website pages, give people additional information, and make your tweets more accessible.
Any type of link is allowed, though you may have to shorten some sites’ links due to character limit. If you are posting a link to another website, make sure it is a trustworthy site by doing a quick search.
Some people use very short poems or phrases instead of full sentences on Twitter and then add a link at the end to their blog or other site.
Brevity is the soul of wit
Twitter limits you to 140 characters per post, or tweet. This makes it challenging to write a full sentence, let alone a full paragraph.
Even with the new 280 character limit, it is still difficult to include a full paragraph in a single tweet. You can try to squeeze in some sentences, but then it loses its point-summary nature.
Fortunately, tweets do not require much text! A simple statement or statement plus response is enough. The hard part is deciding what to tweet in the first place.
Twitter is a social media platform that allows you to direct message people, so if you want to privately message someone with a long message, you can! Or you could post a long message as a tweet itself, with the header of your post being the question or statement and the body being the answer or response.
People who tweet a lot see growth in their followership
Despite all the noise and nonsense on Twitter, people who tweet a lot see growth in their followership. This is true even when they tweet lots of nonsense themselves.
In fact, researchers at the University of San Francisco found that Twitter users with more than 500 tweets per month see an average follower growth of 2.3% per month.
People with fewer tweets per month see less growth, but still see some increase in followers. Users with between 100 and 500 tweets per month see an average follower growth of 1.75% per month, and those with fewer than 100 tweets per month still see an increase of 0.75% per month.
The researchers looked at almost 30 million Twitter accounts over a year to come up with these numbers. They also found no limit to how many followers someone can gain through tweeting more themselves. There’s no point where someone “tops out” with their number of followers.
Short and sweet is still sweet
While the average length of a tweet is around 110 characters, the average length of a retweet is around 20 characters. This means that the person sharing your content will have to edit your content by 80 characters!
It can be challenging to edit your content down, but it is important to do so in order to make room for others’ content. It also helps more people see and share your content which is what we want!
If your tweet is longer than 140 characters, you have the option to either double post or cut out some of the content. The best way to do this depends on what you are trying to convey.
For instance, if you are tweeting a link or a quote, then just posting the link or quote and nothing else will work.