280, too many?

Would changing Twitter’s word count from 140 to 280 come with sacrifices?


Kaitlyn Hankard

Twitter is in the process of testing changing its character count from 140 to 280.

Miles Swan, News Reporter

On Sept. 26, 2017, Twitter said that the company would implement a change to its infamous word count of 140 to 280. This can mainly be attributed to many things, including different writing systems, the history of the mobile phone and much more.

In Japanese, Chinese and many other East Asian languages, logograms are used, meaning that each word has a different symbol or sign. In Twitter’s data base, each logogram is considered its own character, which lets speakers write much larger messages with a 140-character count rather than a language such as English or Spanish which use an alphabet.

With this, raising the character limit from 140 to 280 will give people who speak other languages more room to express themselves. When analyzing Twitter’s data, it is seen that 0.4% of tweets in Japanese reach the 140-character limit, whereas in English, 9% of tweets reached this limit. Even though so little English speaking users reach the maximum character limit, it would sure be nice to have a little more wiggle room to express one’s emotions.

Abigail Day, a sophomore at Newsome High School states, “I rarely reach my 140-character count, but I think it would be really awesome to have more characters because I feel that the current character count doesn’t give people enough space to express themselves the way they want to”. Sydney Swenson, who is also a sophomore, disagrees with the possible new change saying, “I don’t like it when tweets get long. It bothers me, because I don’t have the time or stamina to read it. If anything, the word count should be lowered because like a bird tweet, they should be short and sweet”

Even with a higher character limit, many do wonder why Twitter even has a word limit, and what the point to it even is. To find that out, one must travel back in time to 2006, the year of the eighteenth FIFA, the twentieth winter Olympics and most notably, the creation of Twitter.

In 2006, messaging was limited to AIM chat rooms, and SMS. Though we have SMS and chatrooms today, there is one big difference. In 2006, there was a character limit of 140, since many phones and communication devices couldn’t receive more complex messages.

Though there have been talks about a new character limit, only a select few have the chance to use it, and see how it works. Twitter will then collect data of how many people meet the character limit, and decide then if, and when they will upgrade their limit.