In perhaps the biggest change to its service since its inception, Twitter on Tuesday announced a bunch of changes meant to distance itself from the controversial 140-character-per-tweet rule.
As previously rumored, media links generated by attaching photos, animated GIFs, videos, polls, quoted tweets and direct messages—along with @names in replies—will no longer count toward the limit.
Other changes include the addition of the retweet button on your own tweets and automatically exposing any tweets which begin with a username to all your followers.
The latter feature is bound to be welcomed by Twitter’s community, even more so by newcomers who are more often than not confused by Twitter’s rules.
Currently, tweeting out something that starts with a @user mention would only make the tweet visible to that person. People have been circumventing this rule by starting such tweets with a period, followed by a @user mention and the text of the tweet.
Although @names that auto-populate at the start of a reply tweet will no longer count towards the character limit, new non-reply tweets starting with a @mention will count, as will @mentions added explicitly by the user in the body of the tweet.
Here’s everything that’s changing, as per Twitter:
- 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, [email protected]: 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 ”[email protected]” 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 will be available over the coming months so that app makers have enough time to make any needed updates to their Twitter clients built with Twitter’s official APIs.