Twitter has decided to simplify the tweet-creation process, and has announced that photos, links, and user names will no longer be counted against its 140-character limit. This change is rolling out now and over the “coming months.”
But that’s not all that’s being announced today: You’re now able to retweet or quote tweet yourself, and Twitter is ditching the “.@” convention that it instituted for those wishing their tweets to be seen more more broadly. All of these updates will be available on Twitter’s website, as well as its iOS and Android apps, Twitter for Mac, and TweetDeck.
Since its founding, Twitter has maintained a limit of 140 characters, and each addition, whether a link, photo, video, or username, contributed to that count. Last week, it was reported that the company would implement ease these restrictions, in an effort to improve the overall user experience and help refine Twitter’s focus as outlined by CEO Jack Dorsey.
Today’s news will make it easier to compose tweets. The exclusion of usernames from the character count should make conversing easier, resulting in less “penny-pinching” of words. The same goes when you attach a photo, GIF, video, poll, or quote tweet — none of these will count against you.
Users will also welcome the removal of the pesky “.@” convention. Starting today, the company says new tweets that begin with a username will reach all of your followers. If you want a particular reply to be seen by all of your followers, Twitter said you can retweet it “to signal you intend for it to be viewed more broadly.”
The company suggested such a change may be coming back in April.
All of these adjustments are intended to enhance the experience for existing users, but, even more importantly, to encourage more people to start using Twitter. New users may have shrugged the service off after determining that the protocols for using it simply were too complicated. Although some expected that the company would reinvigorate its base and attract more users by doing away with the character limit entirely, expanding it just like Twitter did with direct messages, Dorsey has denied such rumors.
“One of the biggest priorities for this year is to refine our product and make it simpler,” Dorsey said in a statement. “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.”
Twitter’s CEO has committed the company to a vision that’s focused on live events and conversation. Over the past year, the company has released tools to further this objective, including polling, GIFs, and the ability to share Periscope broadcasts.
“We’re not giving up on the idea of Twitter being in the moment,” Dorsey remarked. “That concept of brevity, speed and live conversation – being able to think of something and put it out to the world instantly – that’s what’s most important. We’re always going to look for opportunities to make Tweets a lot more expressive, and enable people to say what they want to say. As long as things are fast, easy, simple and expressive, we’re going to look at what we can do to make Twitter a better experience.”
Developers are also impacted by this update and will need to account for updated services, such as Twitter’s Public REST and Streaming APIs, its ads API, Gnip data products, and services such as Fabric’s Twitter Kit for embedded tweets and timelines.