Tuesday 21 November 2017

Longer 'tweet storms' for Trump as Twitter plans to double space

Twitter has started a trial with a 'small group', randomly chosen across the world, to see if people like the new longer format. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Twitter has started a trial with a 'small group', randomly chosen across the world, to see if people like the new longer format. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
Adrian Weckler

Adrian Weckler

Donald Trump may soon have twice as much Twitter space to blast opponents.

That's because Twitter wants to double the length of its short social media messages to 280 characters.

The social media company has started a trial with a "small group", randomly chosen across the world, to see if people like the new longer format.

It won't say who is included, but if users react positively, we may all be in for longer 'tweet storms' from the US president, who is one of Twitter's most ferocious users.

"We want every person around the world to easily express themselves on Twitter, so we're doing something new: we're going to try out a longer limit, 280 characters," said Aliza Rosen, Twitter product manager.

The company has published figures showing that 9pc of users tweeting in English reach the 140-character limit.

Reaching that character limit is "a major cause of frustration for people tweeting in English", said Ms Rosen, adding that when people tweet with room to spare, they tweet more often.

The move may attract criticism from those who say that Twitter is becoming too wordy.

However, Twitter published examples of what a timeline with longer tweets would look like, with side-by-side comparisons appearing to show little extra space required for the 280-character tweets.

Quoted tweets are expected to take up the same amount of space, as Twitter truncates the original tweet at present.

"We understand since many of you have been tweeting for years, there may be an emotional attachment to 140 characters," said Ms Rosen.

"We felt it, too. But we tried this, saw the power of what it will do and fell in love with this new, still brief, constraint. We are excited to share this today, and we will keep you posted about what we see and what comes next.

"Twitter is about brevity. It's what makes it such a great way to see what's happening. Tweets get right to the point with the information or thoughts that matter. That is something we will never change."

Irish Independent

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