CEO Jack Dorsey announced the news, promising no changes in Twitters brevity, speed, and essence.
CEO Jack Dorsey announced the news of a trial run of a 280-character limit for people who tweet in English. Teresa Kroeger/Getty Images

"This is a small change, but a big move for us," Twitter's CEO just tweeted.

I'm not sure I would describe Twitter's "essence" the same way Jack would—I consider Twitter's essence bile, bullshit, horrible news, bad jokes, good jokes, manipulation, links to good writing, poetry, and porn—but this is happening, whether you like it or not.

As Twitter puts it (in a piece confusingly bylined by two people though sometimes they refer to themselves in first person and sometimes in third):

Trying to cram your thoughts into a Tweet – we’ve all been there, and it’s a pain.

Interestingly, this isn't a problem everywhere people Tweet. For example, when I (Aliza) Tweet in English, I quickly run into the 140 character limit and have to edit my Tweet down so it fits. Sometimes, I have to remove a word that conveys an important meaning or emotion, or I don’t send my Tweet at all. But when Iku Tweets in Japanese, he doesn’t have the same problem. He finishes sharing his thought and still has room to spare. This is because in languages like Japanese, Korean, and Chinese you can convey about double the amount of information in one character as you can in many other languages, like English, Spanish, Portuguese, or French.

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, in languages impacted by cramming (which is all except Japanese, Chinese, and Korean).

It goes on ("We understand since many of you have been Tweeting for years, there may be an emotional attachment to 140 characters—we felt it, too..." god, shut up) but let's leave that there for now and walk out into Twitter and see how folks are responding: