Twitter is mulling an amendment to one of its claims to fame.
On Sept. 27 the company’s official account tweeted that it will experiment with increasing the character limit to a tweet from 140 to 280 characters.
The move appears to be part of an effort to get people to tweet more. Two Twitter product managers, Aliza Rosen and Ikuhiro Ihara, wrote on the company’s official blog that “when people don’t have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and actually have some to spare, we see more people Tweeting – which is awesome!”
Only a select group of Twitter users will see their character limits increased, they add. It’s not clear how many people will be included in the test, or how they are chosen. A spokesman for Twitter says it will be rolled out to a random sample of people, and it’s not decided if and when it will reach all users.
Twitter founder Jack Dorsey and Biz Stone each explained the decision for the test on Twitter, in tweets that each exceeded the standard 140-character limit.
Newcomers to the social network are often baffled by Twitter’s 140 character limit. But many power users hail it as one of the key reasons why Twitter is an effective tool for sharing and collecting information. The forced brevity requires one to carefully formulate ideas before sharing them with the world, so goes one argument. It also makes digesting an onslaught of tweets easier.
Unsurprisingly, many devoted Twitter users did not welcome the news. And several expressed concern over what such a change would mean for president Trump’s tweeting habits.
Twitter is under intense pressure to improve its financials and please investors. Its most recent earnings report revealed that it added no new users over the quarter ending through June 2017. That bodes poorly for the company’s business, as potential advertisers will likely send their money to a healthier social network—namely Facebook. The company’s quarterly revenue has dropped this year when compared to the same time periods in 2016.
Twitter seems convinced that increasing its character limit help attract a larger audience. Its existing users, however, are not. Given how Twitter has a habit of hiring executives that don’t use Twitter themselves, it might be wise for the company to listen to people that do.