Why is Twitter moving to 280 characters?

The social media platform is experimenting with longer formats.

140 has been an iconic number for Twitter. But not anymore!

The social media platform has decided to experiment a bit more with length and is launching a new format with a limit of 280 characters with a small pool of users.

“This is a small change, but a big move for us,” said Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey. “140 was an arbitrary choice based on the 160 character SMS limit.”

“Originally, our constraint was 160 (limit of a text) minus username,” Twitter co-founder Biz Stone in a tweet. “But we noticed @biz got 1 more than @jack. For fairness, we chose 140.”

Dorsey said he’s “proud of how thoughtful the team has been in solving a real problem people have when trying to tweet. And at the same time maintaining our brevity, speed, and essence!”

A Twitter blog post explains that the company wants “every person around the world to easily express themselves on Twitter.”

So we’re doing something new: we’re going to try out a longer limit, 280 characters, in languages impacted by cramming (which is all except Japanese, Chinese, and Korean).

Aliza Rosen and Ikuhiro Ihara of Twitter explains that Twitter’s research “shows us that the character limit is a major cause of frustration for people Tweeting in English.”

Personally I like the 140 character format. It’s not a limitation, rather an opportunity.

But at the same time I truly believe success comes from a willingness to experiment, innovate, and even fail when necessary. It’s easy to be critical for all of us, but I’m very curious to see how the new experiment goes.

And it’s refreshing to see a positive attitude from Twitter and Jack Dorsey, as per one of the co-founder’s recent tweets:

We expected (and ❤️️!) all the snark & critique for #280characters.

What do you guys think?