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The best and worst uses of Twitter's new 280-character limit

10 November 2017

To the consternation of many, Twitter announced on November 8 that all its users would henceforth be able to tweet with 280 characters.

Twitter was initially limited to 140 words because at the beginning of the service people tweeted via text, which at the time had a 140-character limit. Product manager Aliza Rosen says that with the 140-character limit, 9 percent of tweets would hit the limit, with no characters to spare.

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After running a successful trial with few users, Twitter has finally rolled out its new 280-character limit virtually for all users. As Twitter explained in a blog post last month, some languages are more susceptible to cramming than others.

Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) users across the world are now able to express themselves with more characters.

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"Users will not in the future write on Twitter as if they were Thomas Mann or Theodor W. Adorno", the linguist Peter Schlobinski told epd on Wednesday. In most cases, it doesn't seem like most people are actually increasing the length of their tweets; we have apparently been trained well. Even before it did so, users found creative ways to get around the limit. Only five percent of users went above 140 characters during the test, and only 2 percent ever went north of 190 characters.

Actor Isiah Whitlock Jr., famous for his role as Clay Davis on The Wire, used the opportunity to remind Twitter of the character's famous catchphrase.

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Overall, the expanded character limit is probably going to have both positive and negative effects for small businesses and Twitter users as a whole. However, many of Twitter's 330 million monthly active users were already getting around the limit by linking to longer pieces, taking screenshots of full stories, and sending streams of tweets called tweetstorms to complete thoughts.

The best and worst uses of Twitter's new 280-character limit