Twitter announces a whole new world in 140 characters

We’re always hearing about the latest Google, Facebook and Twitter updates – a new button, a new algorithm – occasionally, but rarely life changing.

But I mean it when I say that this latest announcement from Twitter is truly exciting for the industry due to the level of freedom and creativity it will introduce. Let me explain why.

Firstly, what’s changed? Twitter announced the following:

  • Replies: When replying to a Tweet, @names will no longer count toward the 140-character count.
  • 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.
  • Retweet and Quote Tweet yourself: Twitter will be enabling the Retweet button for your own Tweets, so you will now be able to Retweet or Quote Tweet yourself when you want to share a revisit a past tweet to add additional comment or bring one back into the spotlight.
  • No need for, .@: New Tweets that begin with a username will now go to all of your followers which means you’ll no longer have to use the ‘.@’ convention that people currently use to make sure Tweets are seen by all their followers. You will also be able to Retweet replies as a signal that you intend for the tweet to be viewed more broadly.

What does this mean?

Before now, PRs, marketers and social media experts have often been torn between having a well-thought out, informative tweet and an eye-catching image that would draw the eye and lead to a click-through. This meant tweeting with images could be extremely difficult – a challenge which some might not admit to, but it was quite rewarding if achieved. Unfortunately for those who secretly enjoyed this challenge, tweets will not require the same level of brutal editing before they can go live moving forward.

Twitter also hopes that the other changes, such as direct tweets now going to every follower, will help to simplify the system and encourage more social media users to join the platform. And let’s face it – those tweets with full stops before the @ were a tad ugly to look at. Good news all round!

The author

Nikki is a director and co-founder of Fourth Day

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