Come February, Some Tweets Will Get A Wee Bit Shorter

Twitter missives with links in them are getting two characters axed off. Will it matter for you?

Twitter just announced that in February it will shorten the number of characters you can use in tweets containing URLs to 118 characters (117 for https links.)

That might seem like a large cut from the already-teeny 140, but in reality, it's only two characters shorter than what Twitter currently allows for tweets containing URLs. Twitter says the shortening is a result of changes to its t.co link shortener, which will now max out at 21 to 23 characters per link, versus the current 20 to 22. The changes will go into effect on February 20, 2013.

What that means: When you tweet out hyperlinks that Twitter shortens, those links will now take up a little more space, reducing the content you'll be able to add to the message.

That means you'll have a little less real estate to work with, but will it make a difference to you? Tell us in the comments.

[Image: Flickr user Adam Baker]

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20 Comments

  • AA

    Two extra characters would be great, two less is detrimental! I already struggle to contain my tweets

  • Tad Campbell

    (Re-submitting this comment, Fast Company doesn't like links in comments haha)

    Are they approaching their limit somehow?  Also, it's a little unclear in the writing - are they adding *one* or *two* more characters to the URL?

    The URL is currently composed of 8 random characters, that would be 62^8=218,340,105,584,896 combinations (or slightly more if URLS can be "up to" 8 characters but I'm pretty sure it's fixed at those amounts).

    Bitly shortens 100M URLs a day (2012 figure from MentalFloss).  Arbitrarily assuming Twitter does 150M per day, I guess 4,000 years isn't quite enough for Twitter. :p

  • lakawak

    You are assuming they allow every combination of letters/characters to be used. Very likely they have some combinations for successsive characters that they don't allow.

  • MáireNíGiollaBhríde

    As the 8th to comment, ITA with other views..this is not a case of 'less is more'

  • lakawak

    Perhaps it is time to realize that people don't care about your links. When grandmas do it in e-mails, people mock them. But people do it via Twitter and they think people care? Newsflash: No one is clicking on them anyway.

  • Jane

    Totally untrue about not clicking on the links. I curate the links of those I follow with Paper.li. For many science folks on Twitter, links are what we are there for. Newsflash: we don't care about your mundane dialogue -- we care about information.

  • Tad Campbell

    Are they approaching their limit somehow? Also it's a little unclear, are they adding *one* or *two* more characters to the URL?

    The URL is currently composed of 8 slots of random characters, that would be 62^8=218,340,105,584,896 combinations (or slightly more if URLS can be "up to" 8 characters but I'm pretty sure it's fixed at those amounts).

    Bitly shortens 100M URLs a day (2012 figure - http://www.mentalfloss.com/blo.... Arbitrarily assuming Twitter does 150M per day, I guess 4,000 years isn't enough for Twitter.

  • Dave Mora

    They have to. Because like phone numbers. They are running out of combinations to use with their t.co URL. 

    They can either start deleting pass links they have shorten and reused them - Might become an issue in the pass since old tweets with those links will now point to a new one website that was not intended in the original tweet. 

    They can try and use a new domain like z.co (Assuming that another single letter .co domain is available) 

    Extending the tweet limit is not an option because it will affect the millions who use Twitter via traditional SMS 

  • Douglas Green

    Is this supposed to be an upgrade? I'm sure this will bring with it some measure of pain and annoyance. I really enjoy it when I send out a tweet with 0 characters left.

  • Jill Przybyla

    While it's only a character or two less, I already find it difficult to keep within the character limit. I am not looking forward to this change especially since I currently use links frequently in my tweets.