Coming soon: Twitter announces changes which will allow us to express even more in 140 characters
Over the past decade, the 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 the past few months they’ve added the ability to poll your community, react quickly and cleverly with GIFs, and share and enjoy Periscope broadcasts in Tweets.
In the coming months Twitter announced changes to simplify Tweets including what counts toward your 140 characters. 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: The Retweet button will be enabled 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. If you’re worried that you’ll see all the replies between members of your feed, don’t; only new tweets that start with the @username will be seen by all followers; any replies after that will still be only seen by those that follow both you and the @username account. “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 noted.
Three new ways to make most of your 140 characters on Twitter:
- Room to chat: Characters are for conversations, not usernames
- Show more: Photos, polls, and more won’t cut into your character count
- Say it again: Retweet or quote tweet your tweets and replies
These updates will be available over the coming months. Twitter announced that in addition to the changes outlined above, they’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.”
Some say these and previous Twitter changes are an attempt from keeping Twitter from ‘dying’. We think Twitter is far from dying. Although it might not be as widely used and popular as Facebook, and growing in popularity like Instagram and Snapchat, Twitter is a tool that connects you directly, and gives you access to people you otherwise might not have the access to. We look forward to seeing how these changes will be implemented and accepted, and how Twitter will continue evolving together with its users.