The maximum number of characters in a tweet has recently decreased from 140 to 138. This small decrease may not seem like much, but it is an important move for Twitter.
Twitter has been working hard to improve the user experience as well as increase engagement. By making this small character reduction, more tweets can fit into a single tweet thread which makes it easier to follow and read.
Users can also feel more free to post since the limit dropped by 2 characters. This could lead to more meaningful and lengthier posts which attract more users.
The average length of a tweet has increased as well, which gives more opportunity for exposure via retweets and likes.
This was not an easy decision for Twitter to make however. The number of characters in a tweet is closely tied to the platform itself so changing this can have big consequences. It is nice to see that they are looking out for the wellbeing of the platform by making these subtle changes.
Why are there max character limits?
While this seems like a small thing, the max character limits in tweets have a huge impact on how people use Twitter. The limit prevents people from using the platform in their own way, forcing them to adapt to the system instead.
Many users feel like they have to cram as much information into a tweet as possible because there are only 280 characters. This leads to very short statements that do not fully convey meaning or intention.
Others simply give up and don’t tweet at all due to the length restriction. This takes away from the diversity of users on Twitter and decreases exposure to new people and ideas.
As we discussed earlier, shorter tweets lead to more frequent tweets which leads to less meaningful content being shared. When people have to fit everything into such a short amount of time, less thought goes into what is posted.
Character length of tweets
Since Twitter was created, the maximum number of characters in a tweet has changed several times. As the platform has evolved, so has the character limit.
When Twitter first launched, you were limited to 140 characters. As time went on, this number increased as they adjusted the pixel count per character. Now, with their new font update, the character count per tweet is back down to 140 characters.
With the update, Twitter is also testing a new feature that will add two additional characters to every tweet. This is so people will not have to cut off their thoughts due to the short length of a tweet.
We see you! We’re testing a feature that adds two additional characters to every tweet you send through our service. Check it out: https://t.co/hM2guPT8Op pic.twitter.
Images in tweets
The maximum number of characters in a tweet has increased over the years, and as of November 27, 2018, the maximum number of characters in a tweet is 400. This is up from 140 characters when Twitter was founded!
Aside from the character limit, another big change happened this year: you can now add an image to a tweet without attaching it to a Tweet conversation.
Previously, all tweets had to include a character count for the text and a character count for the attached image, which was confusing. Now you can just add an image and it will display automatically.
This makes it easier to just post an image and not have to count characters or worry about spacing issues. The only thing that matters is the length of the text on your tweet.
You can still attach images to conversations, but they must be square images now instead of rectangular. This update was made so that more people could easily post images on their tweets.
Using @usernames in tweets
A very common way to use tweets is to include someone else’s username in your tweet. This lets the other person know that your tweet is about them or about their topic.
It is very common for people to have several usernames, especially on social media platforms like Twitter where it started.
Having a limit on characters in a tweet makes it difficult to include someone else’s username in a post. Having to shorten or omit the username would make the post seem impersonal.
Having usernames at the beginning of a tweet becomes an issue when people have usernames that are inappropriate or offensive. Having to delete part of the tweet due to character limits would make that point unclear.
Having usernames at the end of tweets becomes an issue because it looks like you are tweeting about yourself instead of about another person or topic.
Including links in tweets
Including links in tweets is a tricky game. The Twitter limit is only around 300 characters, which seems like enough room to include a link.
But because you have to include someone’s account in the tweet, including the link takes up some of that character count. Plus, you have to include the #Hashtags and @Usernames so that other users can find your tweet, so that takes up some characters too.
Making your tweets too short can make it seem unfulfilling, and leaving out hashtags or other important information due to the link may hurt its effectiveness.
The best way to include a link in a tweet is to make sure it is relevant and worth the character count. Try linking to an article on the same topic as your tweet or another article related to the topic for more exposure.
Max character limits aren’t always best
While some social media platforms require you to limit your content, Twitter doesn’t. You can write as many tweets as you want, but they all have to be under 140 characters.
Some might think this is a disadvantage, because you cannot give enough information in a single tweet. However, this forces users to be more thoughtful with their content.
Since tweets are so short, people also have to read them quickly which makes them digest the info quicker. This is a good thing because it keeps the flow of information going.
The character limit also forces people to not waste words. There is no room for filler words or sentences that do not add value. Everything that is written in a tweet has purpose!
I have found that people with over 10k followers on Twitter have an average of 5k+ followers on other platforms due to the character limit forcing them to switch platforms for more space to write content.
Plan your tweet before you post it
Although you can edit your tweet after you post it, it is not easy to do so.
If you write a tweet and you are not happy with the content, do not post it! You have the ability to edit your tweets until they are deleted.
The Twitter character limit can be difficult to manage, especially with images attached to your tweet. Make sure you know how many characters are in a tweet before posting anything!
It is easy to add more content to a tweet after you post it, but if you feel like that would ruin the message or meaning, do not do it. Keep your tweets short and sweet!
There is nothing worse than seeing a great message surrounded by lots of extra content that was added later. Don’t do that to your followers! Stick to your plan and deliver the message concisely.
Short and sweet is best
With all the restrictions on Twitter, it can be hard to fit your message into the limited number of characters. Unfortunately, this can lead some users to make their tweets too short.
Unfortunately, this can lead some users to make their tweets too short. As mentioned before, your followers expect a certain amount of words in a tweet, so trying to keep them under 140 characters can result in incomplete thoughts.
That is why the maximum character count in a tweet is 100 characters shorter than the character limit for a post. This lets people express their full thoughts without having to cut anything short.
If you find yourself running out of room, try removing some unnecessary words or switching to more concise terms to fit your point across.