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Twitter’s 140 Character Limit is Undergoing Some Tweaks
Today the San Francisco social networking company, Twitter Inc. announced that that it was making some minor tweaks to its microblogging service over the next few months.
In a blog post today, Senior Product Manager, Todd Sherman announced “over the past decade, Twitter’s Tweet has evolved from a simple 140-character text message to a rich canvas for creative expression featuring photos, videos, hashtags, Vines, and more. In just the past few months we added the ability to poll your community, react quickly and cleverly with GIFs, and share and enjoy Periscope broadcasts in Tweets.”
He went on to say that “users can already do a lot in a Tweet, but we want you to be able to do even more. In the coming months we’ll make changes to simplify Tweets including what counts toward your 140 characters, so for instance, @names in replies and media attachments (like photos, GIFs, videos, and polls) will no longer “use up” valuable characters.”
Here’s what will change:
- Replies: When replying to a Tweet, @names will no longer count toward the 140-character count. This will make having conversations on Twitter easier and more straightforward, no more penny-pinching your words to ensure they reach the whole group.
- Media attachments: When you add attachments like photos, GIFs, videos, polls, or Quote Tweets, that media will no longer count as characters within your Tweet. More room for words!
- Retweet and Quote Tweet yourself: We’ll be enabling the Retweet button on your own Tweets, so you can easily Retweet or Quote Tweet yourself when you want to share a new reflection or feel like a really good one went unnoticed.
- Goodbye, .@: These changes will help simplify the rules around Tweets that start with a username. New Tweets that begin with a username will reach all your followers. (That means you’ll no longer have to use the ”.@” convention, which people currently use to broadcast Tweets broadly.) If you want a reply to be seen by all your followers, you will be able to Retweet it to signal that you intend for it to be viewed more broadly.
Twitter believes these changes will allow users to “express even more with a tweet.”
The announcement came today, however the changes may take a few months to roll out since they have a significant impact on tweets and their developer partners will need time to make the necessary updates to hundreds of thousands of products built using Twitter’s API.
Sherman went on to say, “In addition to the changes outlined above, we have plans to help you get even more from your Tweets. We’re exploring ways to make existing uses easier and enable new ones, all without compromising the unique brevity and speed that make Twitter the best place for live commentary, connections, and conversations.”
Facing declining user growth and questions about whether its product is a bit too standoffish to new users, Twitter has made some changes to its service — most noticeably replacing its favorites icon from a star to a heart. However, the company has failed to embrace other features that users have been demanding, such as the ability to edit tweets.