While rumors have been floating for a couple of weeks, this morning Twitter made it official that big changes are coming to the 140 character limit of the micro-blogging site. The updates, which will take effect over the course of the next several months, will make replies and attached images not count against your character limit. That means you can attach a photo to your Tweet and it not consume upwards of 23 characters to link. It is a huge change and while the 140 character limit which has made the service popular is still in place, it will become a lot more user friendly and flexible as these updates roll out.
From the announcement today, here is what you can expect to change as Twitter rolls out these updates.
- Replies: When replying to a Tweet, @names will no longer count toward the 140-character count. This will make having conversations on Twitter easier and more straightforward, no more penny-pinching your words to ensure they reach the whole group.
- Media attachments: When you add attachments like photos, GIFs, videos, polls, or Quote Tweets, that media will no longer count as characters within your Tweet. More room for words!
- Retweet and Quote Tweet yourself: We’ll be enabling the Retweet button on your own Tweets, so you can easily Retweet or Quote Tweet yourself when you want to share a new reflection or feel like a really good one went unnoticed.
- Goodbye, .@: These changes will help simplify the rules around Tweets that start with a username. New Tweets that begin with a username will reach all your followers. (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.
These changes are not rolling out yet as it will be a few months but developers and given the impact is directly on Tweets, changes to the API will need to be accounted for by developers to assure their apps work correctly.
You can read the full announcement from Twitter here.