In the coming months, Twitter will introduce changes that will give users to opportunity to say and show more within individual tweets. Ranging from character allotments to attached media, the changes will allow users to have even richer conversations through expanded tweets.
Historically, all tweets have been limited to 140 characters. The number was set in place when Twitter was introduced in 2006 to allow tweets to be sent as text messages, which had a 160-character limit. It left enough space for the sender’s username to be included in the text, and any media or name mention counted against the character limit. That limit has not ever changed, until now.
With the new changes, the @names that begin a reply tweet will not be counted toward the 140-character limit. However, this change doesn’t affect new tweets with a username @mention at the beginning or any usernames mentioned in the middle of a tweet.
Replies, as always, will still only show up in the recipient’s newsfeed, but a new feature allows users to retweet themselves. The ability for users to retweet themselves allows specific replies to be seen much more broadly.
This means users can have deeper conversations through Twitter. Instead of separating a grander thought or idea into multiple tweets, users can now say more in just one tweet.
In the past, tweets starting with username mentions have only shown up in the feeds of people who followed both the sender and the recipient. The solution was to start the tweet with a period, which broadcasted the tweet publically. With the change, no period will be needed for a tweet to be seen broadly.
Changes are coming for media attachments too. Photos, videos, polls or quote tweets have always counted as characters, subtracting from the possible 140. With the changes, attached media will not count as characters, in turn leaving more space for words.
What do these changes mean for you and your business?
Once Twitter implements these changes, it will enhance Twitter’s usability. More space for words (and pictures or videos) means that brands and marketers will have a bigger opportunity to interact with their customers.
Tweets directed to a brand (starting with @mention) will be seen by a wider group of people. Instead of only showing up in the feed of the recipient, they will also be published to anyone following the sender. More public conversations means that a brand’s Twitter presence will be amplified and have the potential to reach consumers who previously had not interacted with your brand.
The opportunity to share more images without being limited on text means that visual brands, like retailers and CPGs, can use Twitter to share more about their products with their consumers. Any interactions with the brand, including questions, concerns and complaints about purchases or services, can be better addressed with more tweet real estate.
During the past 10 years since Twitter’s inception, there has been a lot of discussion about changing the 140-character limit. Many argue that it would turn Twitter into a completely different website and change Twitter’s allure by allowing users to post both paragraphs and rants.
Twitter stayed true to its text limits with these updates, but added value and opportunity for users to get more out of their interactions with the social media platform. By expanding the amount of information that users can include in a tweet, Twitter increased its usability while not changing the way users use the brand. With more opportunities for companies to show their brands and products, the conversations between brands and consumers have the possibility to be even more engaging and valuable for brands.