Twitter is hoping to give users more room to say what is on their mind, improve engagement, and give people more freedom for meaningful discussions.
Usernames will no longer eat up precious characters.
When you are replying to someone on Twitter, the actual “@name” will no longer eat into your 140-character limit.
The impact of this is that if you need to reply to multiple people, a chain of people, or someone with a particularly long name – you won’t have to shorten your message down dramatically. Reaching a group of people will no longer mean shorter replies – as previously, when more and more people joined a discussion, the replies got drastically shorter due to numerous usernames taking over the character limit.
Whether you want to attach a photo, a GIF, a video, a poll, or a quoted Tweet, it will no longer count towards the 140-character limit.
Until now, attaching an image or any other form of media meant sacrificing characters for your message – so this will make that headache much easier.
However, links still count towards the character limit – which is the standard 22-characters.
Retweeting previously meant sharing a Tweet from another account – but now you can Retweet your own Tweets.
Twitter is also giving users the ability to Quote Tweet yourself – in order to comment on one of your own past Tweets.
Despite the fact this sounds pointless, it could actually prove to be very useful in reflecting or expanding upon a previous Tweet, or re-promoting a Tweet that had previously gone under the radar of your followers.
Tweets Beginning with a Username reaches all Followers
Twitter is now changing the convention of how direct Tweets beginning with the “@name” work.
A while ago, any replies to Tweets that started with “@name” would be displayed to all your followers – but this led to many users being shown seemingly endless conversations they weren’t a part of, which took over their feed.
Twitter then changed this, so that any Tweets or replies beginning with “@name” would only be displayed broadly to the person it is intended for – with other users having to access the “Tweets & replies” tab on a user’s page to view replies.
Despite this, brands and users didn’t always want to hide directed Tweets from other timelines – so by placing a full stop before the @ (such as “.@username”), Tweets would not be categorised as a “direct” Tweet, but simply mentioned during a normal Tweet. Quite simply, it all got a bit messy, with the huge user base of Twitter wanting different things.
Now Twitter is going back to basics. New Tweets starting with a username (like “@username”) at the start of a chain in conversation, will be displayed to all your followers. However, subsequent replies will not be displayed to all your followers (instead only reaching mutual followers between the participants) – but Twitter now allows you to Retweet yourself for more broad viewing. How this will pain out is uncertain, but it certainly gets around the “.@” convention that showed people weren’t really happy with how Twitter worked.
Twitter will be introducing these updates over the coming months, in order to give developers using Twitter’s API the time to make updates.