When Twitter gave us 280 characters back in the fall, it was under the pretext that the 140-character limit had been, well, limiting—and that it was scaring off would-be users. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey reiterated that again during the company’s Q4 earnings call this morning, when he disclosed that user engagement has increased following the change with “more mentions” and “more people returning to Twitter.” He also shared something surprising: that the average tweet size has not gone up.
For those of us who’ve been privy to many 280-character tweetstorms, that doesn’t really compute. Dorsey didn’t go into specifics, so it’s not clear how many tweets are over 140 characters and what the average character count is. (I’ve reached out to Twitter and will update this post if I hear back.)
It does, however, align with what Twitter reported about the trial period before it rolled out 280 characters more widely. Twitter claimed that just 5% of tweets were over 140 characters—of the people who had been granted the new feature—and only 1% of tweets actually hit 280 characters.
Then again, given that Twitter went wide with this barely two months ago, maybe it’s only a matter of time. Just wait till the midterm elections.