Twitter analytics at forefront of new 280 characters decision


Twitter recently announced that it was testing the possibility of increasing the number of characters per tweet from 140 letters to 280 letters.

Twitter reached this decision after an analysis, which revealed that people using different languages to convey messages on the platform have different experiences in letting their thoughts felt. Per Twitter’s analysis some of the Twitter users from Asia have a much easier time conveying better messages due to the nature of their languages.

According to a blog post by Aliza Rosen, Product Manager, Twitter and Ikuhiro Ihara, Senior Software Engineer, Twitter, trying to cram your thoughts into a Tweet isn’t a problem everywhere people Tweet.

“When I (Aliza) Tweet in English, I quickly run into the 140 character limit and have to edit my Tweet down so it fits. Sometimes, I have to remove a word that conveys an important meaning or emotion, or I don’t send my Tweet at all. But when Iku Tweets in Japanese, he doesn’t have the same problem. He finishes sharing his thought and still has room to spare,” the post added.

“This is because in languages like Japanese, Korean, and Chinese you can convey about double the amount of information in one character as you can in many other languages, like English, Spanish, Portuguese, or French,” it continued.

Analytics revealed that…

A small percent of Tweets sent in Japanese have 140 characters (only 0.4%). But in English, a much higher percentage of Tweets have 140 characters (9%). Most Japanese Tweets are 15 characters while most English Tweets are 34.

The research also showed that the character limit is a major cause of frustration for people Tweeting in English, but it is not for those Tweeting in Japanese. The longer limit, 280 characters, is going to be tested for languages impacted by cramming (which is all except Japanese, Chinese, and Korean).

“Although we feel confident about our data and the positive impact this change will have, we want to try it out with a small group of people before we make a decision to launch to everyone. What matters most is that this works for our community – we will be collecting data and gathering feedback along the way,” the post continued.

The power of the 140 characters

“We understand since many of you have been Tweeting for years, there may be an emotional attachment to 140 characters – we felt it, too,” the post added.

Over the years people have managed to work around Twitter’s policy and come up with creative tweets that have impacted people in various ways and garnered good impressions among millions of people across the world.

There are two main ways of interacting with tweets, retweeting and liking. Here are some of the tweets that were most retweeted and liked over the years:

The top five most liked tweets (as per Wikipedia) are as follows:

The top five most retweeted tweets (as per Wikipedia) are as follows:


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