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Twitter Relaxes Restrictions on 140-Characters

It is no secret that Twitter has been faced with a problem – the platform isn’t growing with new users. Many changes already been implemented in an effort to make Twitter “easier to use,” one of the biggest barriers to new users joining. Most recently, in an effort to entice new users to the platform, and most importantly to me, as someone that uses Twitter almost exclusively to speak with my communities both personally and professionally, Twitter has announced plans to allow users to get more out of their 140-character limit.

In the months to come, several changes that long time users have been asking for will be implemented. Most specifically, "@names in replies and media attachments (like photos, GIFs, videos, and polls) will no longer 'use up' valuable characters," reads Twitter's blogpost announcing the new changes.

Let’s take a look at what will change, and the impact these changes will make on your Twitter experience.

  1. @names In Replies

Have a large group tweet, with many user’s names? You will no longer need to take people out in replies, in order to get your full reply across. @names in replies will no longer count against your 140-character limit. There’s no doubt that this will enable more seamless conversation. You will be allowed to have up to 50 people in your group tweets. Just remember, just because you CAN do something, doesn’t always mean you SHOULD.

  1. Media, such as GIF’s, photos, quote tweets, polls or videos will also no longer count as characters in tweets. Removing images from the word count now frees up 23 characters for you to use. Now, a picture truly is worth a thousand words. Or at least 140 characters.

  2. Needing to place a “.” Before A Name

If users want their replies to have the potential to be viewed by all their followers, and not only by the first person mentioned in a tweet, they can retweet it to show they’d like all their followers to be able to see it. Simply stated, new tweets that begin with a username will now have the ability to reach all of your followers.

  1. Retweet or Requote Your Own Tweets

Rather than needing to use a secondary program to schedule out a tweet you would like your followers to see at different times, you can now retweet your own tweets if you think certain users may have missed your post at an earlier time.

Will these changes be enough to lure new users into the world of the little blue bird? I’m not so sure. These changes won’t be seen as changes to people just beginning their Twitter experience. However, they will simplify and most likely shorten the learning curve new users often seem to experience, when faced with stringent restrictions that don’t always make sense.

To me, I find these changes will most effect those of us who have been asking for this specific changes for quite some time. The 140-character limit is restrictive, when we are encouraged to build communities and have more of our conversations on Twitter’s platform, rather than be forced onto a different messaging app or to email, in order to have full conversations.

Jack Dorsey and his team at Twitter have not yet said exactly when these changes will go into action, simply saying it will be in the upcoming months.

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