Twitter announced Tuesday, September 26, 2017 a test project allowing...

Twitter announced Tuesday, September 26, 2017 a test project allowing tweets to be expanded to 280 characters -- double the existing limit -- for some users. Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Leon Neal

Twitter’s experiment with allowing twice as many characters per tweet “would be a boon for advertisers” if it attracts more users, a Hofstra University social media expert said Wednesday.

“If it could get more people using the platform, that would be good for business,” said Kara Alaimo, an assistant professor of public relations at the Lawrence Herbert School of Communication.

On Tuesday, Twitter announced that a select group of users would be granted 280 characters — twice the 140-character limit imposed since the social media site began in 2006.

Twitter executives said their research found that the 140-character limit was “a major cause of frustration for people tweeting in English,” but not for those tweeting in more condensed languages such as Japanese, Chinese and Korean.

“We want to try it out with a small group of people before we make a decision,” Twitter executives said.

Alaimo said that Twitter now tends to be used by people with college degrees and higher incomes, while Facebook captures a broader demographic.

A 2016 study by the Pew Research Center found that 68 percent of adult Americans use Facebook compared to 21 percent on Twitter. Twitter’s share price has dipped 25 percent in the last 12 months.

Twitter co-founder and chief executive Jack Dorsey said the shift would enable the company to maintain “our brevity, speed, and essence!”

Brevity is a two-edged sword, said NYIT social media strategist Brylee Kaye: “Twitter’s 140 character limit forces us to get to the point immediately.”

Chris D’Orso, assistant director of enrollment communications at Stony Brook University, said the change threatens to alter what makes Twitter distinctive.

“It forces you to be concise,” said D’Orso, who manages the university’s presence on social media. “We’ll lose a little bit of that.”

With The Los Angeles Times


Chris D’Orso is an assistant director of enrollment communications at Stony Brook University. An earlier version of this story misspelled his last name.

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