Love ‘em or hate ’em, tweets are about to get a whole lot longer.
The expanded space is currently available only to a small test group, but the blog post announcing that test hinted the feature will soon be site-wide.
“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,” wrote Twitter product manager Aliza Rosen and senior software engineer Ikuhiro Ihara.
It should be easy to Tweet no matter what language you speak! Excited to share that we're trying out expanding our character limit, read more here: https://t.co/dRDHmOsskE— Aliza Rosen (@alizar) September 26, 2017
This is a small change, but a big move for us. 140 was an arbitrary choice based on the 160 character SMS limit. Proud of how thoughtful the team has been in solving a real problem people have when trying to tweet. And at the same time maintaining our brevity, speed, and essence! https://t.co/TuHj51MsTu— jack (@jack) September 26, 2017
The company cited differences between languages as a reason for expanding the character limit. As an English speaker, Rosen noted that she often runs into the 140-character limit, forcing her to edit down her tweets.
“Sometimes, I have to remove a word that conveys an important meaning or emotion, or I don’t send my Tweet at all,” Rosen wrote.
Ihara doesn’t have the same issue when he tweets in Japanese.
“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,” they wrote.
Market data collected by Twitter show that “when people don’t have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and actually have some to spare, we see more people Tweeting,” the blog post said.
Twitter users ― who use the platform to criticize, celebrate and inform ― erupted with opinions after the character limit expansion was announced. Many argued that the character limit made them better writers by forcing them to express their thoughts more concisely.
The 140-character limit was the greatest editor many of us will ever have.— Matt Pearce (@mattdpearce) September 26, 2017
I will say this tho: For all that twitter has eaten my brain, the 140-character limit made me a staggeringly more efficient thinker & writer— Helen Rosner (@hels) September 26, 2017
Others were worried that twice-as-long tweets would simply double the amount of space that internet trolls use to harass other people.
Twitter users want an end to death threats and other forms of harassment, and sensible policies on Nazis--instead we get 280 characters.— Blake Hounshell (@blakehounshell) September 26, 2017
Now we'll get 280 character death threats instead of 140 character death threats. Twitter, tackle the real problems.— Sarah Kendzior (@sarahkendzior) September 26, 2017
The cool thing about Twitter expanding its 140-character limit is that now men can be even more verbose in their harassment of women.— Sarah Lerner (@SarahLerner) September 26, 2017
me, dummy: twitter should do something about all the abusive nazis— Alex Burns (@alexburnsNYT) September 26, 2017
you, tech genius: let's give nazis a higher character limit to work with
Equally concerning was how Twitter’s single most controversial user, President Donald Trump, would react.
Trump’s tweeted rants aimed at other world leaders, celebrities or entire organizations are a key characteristic of his tenure. He is also the first president to announce major policy changes using Twitter, including the ban on transgender people in the military.
People wondered uneasily if longer tweets would embolden the president to use Twitter for more serious announcements.
everyone: “hey twitter, could you do something to stop trump from starting a war on here?”— Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie) September 26, 2017
twitter: “what if we gave him…longer tweets?”
Us: please stop Donald Trump from using your platform to incite nuclear war— Jordan (@jordansdiamonds) September 26, 2017
Twitter: so like, no, but here’s 140 extra characters!! ️
Close your eyes.— M.G. Siegler (@mgsiegler) September 26, 2017
Imagine Trump using Twitter.
Now imagine Trump using Twitter with 280 characters.
Now close Twitter.
280 characters now on twitter only means that’s an additional 140 characters for Trump to spew hot trash... pic.twitter.com/LvQDU2oIuK— Chef Fadia (@FADIA) September 26, 2017
If Trump is one of the "small group of people" who gets to beta-test 280 characters instead of 140, I'm out, @twitter.— Mark Harris (@MarkHarrisNYC) September 26, 2017
- This article originally appeared on HuffPost.