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Twitter Changes What Counts in 140 Characters, Making Longer Tweets Possible

     
11:11 am on Sep 13, 2016 (gmt 0)

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In the coming months, Twitter has said it'll cut down on the content that counts towards your 140 character limit. Here's a quick summary, and it includes quoted tweets, media, such as GIF and photos, @names in group messages, retweets, and the @ username.

So, you can already do a lot in a Tweet, but we want you to be able to do even more. In the coming months we’ll make changes to simplify Tweets including what counts toward your 140 characters, so for instance, @names in replies and media attachments (like photos, GIFs, videos, and polls) will no longer “use up” valuable characters. Here’s what will change:

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, .@: 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 ”.@” 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. Twitter Changes What Counts in 140 Characters, Making longer Tweets Possible [blog.twitter.com]


https://g.twimg.com/blog/blog/image/Twitter_May24.gif
6:17 pm on Sept 13, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I think Twitter would do well to increase the size of a tweet by removing the 149 char limit altogether. I know the reasoning behind it was to synchronise it with the char limit in a single SMS message, but does it really have any relevance today? I think Twitter is really losing pace with consumers. A total rethink is needed IMO.

Mack.
12:44 am on Sept 14, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I'm glad they're working on fixing some of the limitations.
the reasoning behind it was to synchronise it with the char limit in a single SMS message, but does it really have any relevance today?
I think that worldwide it must have some relevance, but I'm of a different demographic. I almost never use SMS.

The Twitter interface overall needs some UX work. I like to use Lists, eg... lots of them, because Twitter's users cover a wide spectrum of my interests.

A simple thing like adding someone to a List, though, is peculiarly non-intuitive on Twitter. Normally, in the dialogue box, I'd expect to check applicable checkboxes, and then click a "Save" confirmation which could also close the dialogue. The way Twitter has set it up, though, I must simply close without saving... an action which in most software causes loss of data... so I'm a bit uncomfortable whenever I do this on Twitter.

Also, Lists can't be alphabetized, renamed, or easily combined.

The heart "Like" is the closest thing Twitter has to saving favorites... again, not helpful if you like to track a broad range of topics. By keeping Twitter completely in the here-and-now and not making it more useful to people who can't or don't want to keep up with the very large flow, Twitter (and, to some extent IMO, Facebook) risks losing a potentially valuable type of user.

Search on Twitter posts is difficult because of 140 characters are hard to parse for long tail queries. etc....
4:01 pm on Sept 14, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Ah yes, but brevity is the soul of wit.

If Twitter were to allow 500 characters, it might as well just rename itself Tumblr or Wordpress
11:53 am on Sept 15, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@ergophobe, I agree, but Twitter already allows images which make 500 words look positively compact. It is already well on the way to becoming Tumblr.
9:42 pm on Sept 15, 2016 (gmt 0)

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@graeme_p, I don't use Twitter much, but now that you mention it, I've seen plenty of Twitter posts that are images of text, which I think is a common workaround
5:06 am on Sept 16, 2016 (gmt 0)

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Exactly. That is one reason I do not use Twitter much any more. I loved it for a while. There was a Greasemonkey script that removed images but it stopped working - the mobile version is more usable but still cluttered.

This sort of moves seem to be a failure to "stick to the knitting". The whole point of Twitter was its brevity. I think Facebook are making the same mistake adding Twitter like features (follow and hashtags - most Facebook users do not seem to know how to use hashtags and a lot use them for emphasis).
5:23 am on Sept 16, 2016 (gmt 0)

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The key to usable Twitter for me has been TweetDeck. So far there are no ads, and you can break your feeds down into columns. I get frustrated using the actual Twitter page, and I would likely abandon it if that's the only way I could use it.

The switch to allowing more characters in tweets won't hurt. A little bit more text would be welcome for some posts. However, if they get rid of the limits altogether I feel Twitter would be losing a lot of its appeal.
10:56 pm on Sept 16, 2016 (gmt 0)

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It was a little white lie when I said I don't use Twitter. I should have said I don't use Twitter as social media. I use it as a bookmarking app. Everything I read on that isn't plain old paper can "share" to Twitter... except I'm not actually sharing per se so much as archiving links I'm interested in. It's irrelevant to me if people read my tweets and, for the most part, I don't read theirs.

And of course things like Zapier and IFTTT integrate with Twitter so it's easy to push tweets to a Google Sheet or whatever you want to keep a running archive.

But I don't really interact on Twitter. I do know people who use it really well for discovery of all kinds of interesting stuff, but I've never figured out how to do that.
11:50 pm on Sept 16, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I'd have to admit that I do the same. My feeds are mostly links to articles that I want to read or that I've found interesting. Interaction there is abysmal. I actually get much better interaction on Google+ with the unlimited posting format. I have people writing very long responses to the same articles I post to Twitter.
9:49 am on Sept 18, 2016 (gmt 0)

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I primarily use Twitter as a traffic source by posting links to articles & info from my site, much of which gets retweeted, but the traffic also comes from the several dozen other news & social sites that scrape Twitter for links.
 

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