If you’re a Twitter enthusiast, you may be pleased to know that all users will soon have double the characters at their disposal. In a surprise move, Twitter announced yesterday that select users would be permitted to test the change before rolling out the new 280-character limit to everyone in the next few months, presumably.
If you’re not sure whether or not you’ve been selected as a tester, open Twitter and give it a shot. If you’re still bound by the restrictive 140-character limit, fear not. We have a sneaky workaround that will allow you to break free. Let’s do it!
Why the Change?
Because the longer character announcement seemingly came from left field, many people are asking “Why?” and “Why, now?” When asked, Twitter stated that they want to allow their users to be more expressive in their tweets.
They also said that the 140-character limit unfairly curbs users who use the English alphabets, whereas those using Japanese, Chinese, and Korean alphabet symbols have always had more space with which to work. As of now, the average Japanese tweet is 15 characters, while nearly all English tweets max out at 140 and incorporate a lot of shorthand or force users to send multiple tweets to express one full thought.
“Our research shows us that the character limit is a major cause of frustration for people tweeting in English.” the company said in a recent blog post. “When people don’t have to cram their thoughts into 140 characters and actually have some to spare, we see more people Tweeting — which is awesome!”
Oh, and one more reason they aren’t emphasizing: they admitted that the original character limit was determined arbitrarily and was loosely based on an outdated 160 text message character limit.
What’s the Plan?
As of now, a few randomly selected users will open their app and be delighted to find that they’re one of the chosen ones, anointed to tweet with abandon. According to Twitter, they will be collecting user data from these lucky ducks over the next few months and will use what they find to determine if they will eventually launch the higher limit for all users. However, once the technological cat is out of the bag, social platforms rarely roll back expanded features after they’ve been announced and tested, so it’s our professional opinion that all will soon get to tweet with 280 characters.
But, I Want It Now!
We get it, and you’re not alone! Unsurprisingly, several developers have already found workable strategies to seize the new limit without being selected by Twitter. We’ve tested a few of them and will relay the simplest one for you. Ready?
- First, log into Twitter on your desktop. Then, go to www.tweetdeck.twitter.com to access TweetDeck. (TweetDeck has been around for years and is a Twitter-developed expansion of the app.)
- Once you’re in TweetDeck, click on ‘View’ in your browser and hover down to ‘Developer’ and click on ‘Developer Tools’. You can also simply right-click and choose ‘Inspect’ to open the Developer Tools window. (We’re using a Mac, it may look slightly different to Windows users.)
- Click on ‘Sources’, then select the ‘(index)’.
- Click on the arrows to the right of the ‘Sources’ tab and click on ‘Snippets’. This will add a new ‘Snippets’ tab next to the existing ‘Sources’ tab and should be empty.
- Select ‘New Snippet’ and name it whatever you’d like. Then copy and paste this code into the blank code area to the right.
- Click the Play triangle underneath the code to run the snippet.
- Tweet to your heart’s 280-character desire!