Tweets May Have Doubled in Size but Users Still Favor Brevity – Increased Limit Has Made the Platform More Civil

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Oct 30
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It’s been almost a year since Twitter decided to offer its users 280 characters to complain about whatever is bothering them. The character limit going from 140 to 280 worried some that there might be even more abusive tweets to deal with. However, it appears that this added space has not only turned Twitter into a somewhat better/cordial place but hasn’t necessarily pushed people into writing short novels.

A report by Axios suggests that only about 1% of tweets actually hit the 280-character limit.

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  • 12% are longer than 140 characters (versus the 9% that hit the 140-character limit historically), and 5% are longer than 190 characters.
  • Across all languages, 6% of all tweets are longer than 140 characters and 3% are longer than 190 characters.

The report added that more people are now using “please” and “thank you” since Twitter stopped asking users to cram everything into 140 chars. A whopping 54% of more tweets “now say ‘please’ and 22% more use ‘thank you’ since the character limit doubled.”

  • There’s a decline of abbreviations like “gr8” (-36%), “b4” (-13%), and “sry” (-5%) in favor of the full words — “great” (+32%), “before” (+70%), and “sorry” (+31%).
  • 30% more tweets include a question mark, and there are more replies to tweets.

Overall, the increased length of tweets hasn’t pushed people to write longer tweets; they are simply using complete words instead of their abbreviations. As Twitter tries to make its platform more interactive and less abusive, this latest report confirms that the increased length has kind of helped the company in encouraging user interaction as there are now more replies to tweets.

Whether this actually helps the company get rid of its “Twitter = troll” image is yet to be seen. But at least the new length has helped users getting rid of annoying abbreviations.

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