Brevity is what makes Twitter great, but the 140-character limit can be frustrating when sharing media or trying to have a public conversation with a lot of people on the service. On Tuesday, Twitter announced some changes that give you more space for content while keeping tweets short and sweet.
In the coming months, media like photos, videos, and polls won't count towards your character limit, confirming earlier reports. Links, however, will still take up characters.
Additionally, @names in replies won't count toward the limit either, making canoes and conversations easier for groups of Twitter users (and potentially more annoying for your followers). You'll be able to include up to 50 @names that already exist in the conversation upon replying to the tweet; if you add another username to the reply, it will count towards the 140-character limit.
Twitter is also making it possible to retweet your own tweets. There's a growing trend on Twitter of people "bumping" tweets to get more attention at more popular times of the day by replying to their own tweets. With the ability to retweet your own content, you won't need a continuous thread reminding people how great your tweets are.
The confusing ".@" is also going away, sort of. When you start a new tweet with a username, everyone who follows you will be able to see it. Previously, you had to add some sort of character before a username in order to get it to all your followers. It's one of those weird rules that only the Twitter initiated would know, and perplexing for new users. Twitter confirmed that new tweets refer to tweets that aren't replies, so if you are in a conversation you want all your followers to see, you'll still have to put a character before the reply.
These new changes do away with the limitations of media or usernames to stifle interactions on Twitter. The company is overhauling much of its service in order to appeal to folks who might not totally get how the fast-moving, real-time social network works. By eliminating the restrictions on characters for media and usernames, it frees up more space for thought while still keeping the text limit the same.
Like with any change Twitter makes, reactions are mixed. Hardcore Twitter users who are comfortable with the service usually lament any changes the company makes in an effort to appeal to new users. Since growth has stagnated, changes must be made, so those of us who are accustomed to using the service in a certain way might grumble as Twitter finds its footing and tries to attract newbies to a platform that, for now, still has a pretty big learning curve.