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Twitter is giving everyone longer tweets, but you probably won’t use them

Those 280-character tweets are here to stay.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey
Drew Angerer / Getty

The test is over — 280-character tweets are here for good.

Twitter announced on Tuesday that it’s rolling out longer tweets to virtually* all of its users, doubling the traditional 140-character limit to 280 characters. Twitter has been testing longer tweets since September, and claims the test proved out the company’s theory — that giving more people room to tweet results in more engagement.

“People who had more room to Tweet received more engagement (Likes, Retweets, @mentions), got more followers, and spent more time on Twitter,” the company wrote in a blog post. Twitter has been testing longer tweets with “tens of millions” of users, according to company spokesperson Will Stickney.

Twitter has been thinking about longer tweets for years, but got cold feet the last time it considered expanding the limit in early 2016. When Twitter first announced that it was testing longer tweets this fall, the service’s users freaked out, worried that giving people more room to write would ruin the brevity that makes Twitter Twitter.

Shockingly, it looks like that reaction was overblown. Twitter says that just 5 percent of tweets sent by users in the test group were longer than the traditional 140-character limit. Only 1 percent of those tweets actually used all 280 characters.

Again, here’s how Twitter explained it in a blog post:

“Since we saw Tweets hit the character limit less often, we believe people spent less time editing their Tweets in the composer. This shows that more space makes it easier for people to fit thoughts in a Tweet, so they could say what they want to say, and send Tweets faster than before.”

So, whether you like it or not, Twitter thinks longer tweets are better for business. And they’re here to stay.

* People who use Twitter in Korean, Japanese or Chinese will still get just 140 characters. Twitter says this is because you can convey a lot more meaning in a lot fewer characters with those languages.


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