One week ago, we first learned that Twitter would likely be easing up on its hard 140-character limit with respect to tweets. Word on the street was that the social media company would no longer count links and photos towards the character limit, giving users more room to express themselves.
Twitter today confirmed that changes are indeed coming to the platform, and clarified what exactly will be excluded from the 140-character limit. For starters, usernames will no longer be counted, so you’re free to include @hothardware and not worry about wasting space for your entire message. In addition, media attachments like polls, videos, photos, GIFs and even quote text will be exempt from the character limit.
Contrary to last week’s report, however, links will still count towards your character limit for each tweet.
Twitter has also made changes to how @replies are handled for those conducting group conversations. “New Tweets that begin with a username will reach all your followers,” writes Twitter Senior Product Manager Todd Sherman. “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 right now is doing outreach to developers, as these are significant updates to the platform that must be accounted for by “the hundreds of thousands of products built using Twitter’s API.” These changes have been a long time coming and go a long way towards making Twitter more approachable to newcomers and more productive for veteran users.
“One of the biggest priorities for this year is to refine our product and make it simpler,” said Twitter co-founder and CEO Jack Dorsey. “We’re focused on making Twitter a whole lot easier and faster. This is what Twitter is great at – what’s happening now, live conversation and the simplicity that we started the service with.”