Earlier this year, it emerged that Twitter was considering a change to its service, which would remove the 140-character limit in tweets and extend to it as many as 10,000 characters. After concerns were raised over the potential effect such a fundamental change would have on the 'micro-blogging' nature of the service, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey later confirmed that the 140-character limit would remain.
But today, Twitter has announced that it is making changes to tweets, to make those 140 characters go a lot further than before.
Senior Product Manager Todd Sherman said today that the company is making "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's changing:
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.
The 'retweet yourself' option could, of course, prove to be both a blessing and a curse, allowing users to resurface tweets that perhaps didn't get enough attention, but also running the risk of timelines being flooded with repetitive content.
These changes won't be happening immediately; Twitter says that the updates "will be available over the coming months", but adds that it's announcing its plans now to give developers time to make any adjustments needed to the "hundreds of thousands of products built using Twitter's API"