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280 characters on Twitter hasn’t been a game changer after all

280 characters on Twitter hasn’t been a game changer after all
[Photo: Nathaniel Shuman/Unsplash]

For years before it happened, people debated whether it should. And when Twitter finally did double the maximum length of a tweet–which it did a year ago today–some of us were skittish about such a fundamental shift.

But according to some stats the company is releasing to mark the anniversary, Twitter hasn’t changed that much in the 280-character era, aside from getting a bit more comprehensible and, maybe, polite:

  • The most commmon tweet length has actually gone down by one character, from 34 to 33
  • 88% of tweets are still 140 characters or under
  • Only 1% of tweets hit the 280 character limit
  • The use of abbreviations to save space has greatly decreased (and those who do use them, I think, look sillier than ever)
  • Use of “please” and “thank you” are up by 54% and 22% respectively

When 280 characters arrived, I intended, briefly, to stick to a personal 140-character limit. That turned out to be tough to accomplish, since Twitter also did away with the precise character counter in favor of a little circle that filled in as you typed. Today, I don’t obsess over how many characters I’m tweeting. But please, Twitter–don’t even think about upping the count to 560.

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