Twitter have just announced they’re making some important changes to the way the platform works over the coming months and they’re changes that I’m personally REALLY pleased. Read on to find out why.
One aspect of Twitter that makes it great is it’s 140 character limit. Granted, when you started using Twitter you probably found it a little difficult to put your thoughts and views in to small 140-character snippets right? We all did.
However, the short and concise tweets are what gave the platform something different and what moulded it in to the wonderful resource and platform it is today.
That said, this limit will forever make it a challenge to get the appropriate level of information in tweets where they’re an individual tweet. For example, if you’re on a bit of a rant or ramble about some topic, you can freely tweet what’s on your mind over 1, 10 or even 20 tweets – it’s entirely up to you.
The challenge is when you have one tweet to capture all the information you want. For example, a job advert. You have 140 characters to fit in the key details of the role and if you include an image you’re losing another 6-10 vital characters which seems a little unfair. I’ve always been puzzled as to why Twitter reduce the number of available characters when you add an image – it’s unfair!
So, it’ll be music to your ears (or eyes) as it is to mine when I tell you about their planned changes.
Usernames no longer count towards your character limit. So, if you sent a tweet that said “Hey @SimonSocialMedia, great to connect” and I replied “@You Great to connect with you too!”. Then the @You no longer counts towards the character limit.
Media attachments such as pictures, videos & GIFs will no longer count towards your character limit. Ready…1…2…3…..HURRAH! It’s almost essential you include visuals of some sort in your tweets if you want to increase engagement so it always felt wrong that these counted against your characters so it’s great news that Twitter are changing this.
Going back to my recruitment example above, I can now maximise the detail about a job (using all 140 characters) AND add an image. Before I had to image first and then work with the character limit I had available after the image was part of the tweet.
What’s this? You can now retweet your own content? Yep, another great change. There have been MANY times when I’ve wanted to re-share an older tweet of mine by retweeting it but then gasped in despair* as I remembered that I couldn’t do this. Well, now you can and you can also quote your old tweet to add some extra information. Another really nice change.
.@ No more!
Ok, so if you’re new to Twitter or maybe in the newish category you might not understand this, so let me explain. If you send a tweet which looks like this “@SimonSocialMM just wrote a great blog” then because it starts with @SimonSocialMM it would only send to me – nobody else would see it. However, if you re-arranged your sentence so my username wasn’t first, i.e. “Just read a great blog from @SimonSocialMM” then this would be shown to ALL of your followers and I would also get a notification about it. The hack people used to get around this was to start with .@Username with the “.” meaning it wasn’t see as a reply.
The difference is simple – if you start a tweet with a username then it sends a tweet only to them but if you include their name in your tweet then it’s visible to all your followers and it still lets me know you’ve mentioned me.
Twitter are removing this so now, even if you start your tweet with “@JoeBloggs” it’ll be visible to your entire timeline and this is another positive change.
As an avid Twitter user I think these are really sensible changes from Twitter. They’re really subtle changes which will be well received by frequent Twitter users and simply allow us to maximise those 140 characters.
I’d love to know what you think of these changes, do you like them? Would you have preferred some different changes, if so, what?