Twitter’s Long-Needed Update Has Arrived. Here’s What You Need to Know
140 characters now mean 140 characters, not 140 characters minus attachments
If you are a marketer or avid social media user, you understand the frustration, yet brilliance, of character limitations on Twitter. It has annoyed us since 2006 as we squeeze what we want to say in 140 characters or less. But today, that has changed as Twitter has updated their rules on character limitations.
So What Has Changed?
The 140-character limit is still in operation. But Twitter has recognised that many of the tweets nowadays carry additional content, such as pictures, GIFs, polls or videos.
Prior to the update, when a user uploaded content to their tweets, the content would count as several characters. This would shorten the space available for text from 140 to 117 characters. This was an annoyance that has only grown through the years
The new update means that content attached to tweets, such as images, videos, polls or GIFs, will not shorten the number of characters available for text.
This is great news for social media users and digital marketers as it allows more breathing space to get your message across and, hopefully, spend less time condensing your messages.
On top of this, quoting tweets will no longer reduce the character count.
What Hasn’t Changed?
While uploading media will no longer reduce your character count, links and embedding videos still do. That means sharing a YouTube video or a news article will cut into the number of characters you can play with.
Are There Other Updates Coming?
In the coming weeks, more updates are arriving. These include:
- Twitter handles/usernames (@name) will no longer cut into character limits.
- Ability to retweet yourself.
- Twitter will be ditching the .@mention convention. All new tweets starting with @name will reach your followers. However, replies to tweets will not. If you want to broadcast a reply to your audience, you will have to retweet yourself.
Why Is Twitter Making These Changes?
Since 2015, Twitter has plateaued at around 310million active monthly users with little increase or decrease. The platform wants to expand from politicians and celebrities tweeting to encouraging everyone to tweet and, hopefully, increase the number of users and, ultimately, increase their profits.
Say more about what’s happening! Rolling out now: photos, videos, GIFs, polls, and Quote Tweets no longer count toward your 140 characters. pic.twitter.com/I9pUC0NdZC
— Twitter (@twitter) September 19, 2016