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Caveats coming to Twitter’s hard 140-character rule

We previously heard rumors that Twitter would be loosening their grip on the character limit, but the announcement reveals more exceptions than anticipated.

Published onMay 24, 2016

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Twitter’s long-standing policy has been one of hard-lined adherence to a strict 140-character rule regarding tweet length. Well, you know, except for that time not so long ago when they lost their minds and started toying around with expanding that length to 10,000 characters. We heard a rumor that Twitter would be bringing changes to their character limit, specifically that links and photos would no longer contribute to the count. It looks like at least one of those turned out to be true, but the snappy social site is also going to be rolling out some additional exceptions. Take a look at their list:

  • 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 introduces new Connect tab and promises better follow recommendations

So it looks like links are still going to count toward your character limit after all, but we’re getting some unexpected exceptions to make tweet-life even easier. Altogether, these changes should loosen the collar around the neck of your Twitter diction without fundamentally overhauling the platform. The company says they are making these looming changes public so that developers can start making alterations to their apps to accommodate for the new way Twitter will be counting characters.

We think this is a pretty sensible move on the part of the social giant, but what is your opinion? Are you a tweet purist who sees this as an unholy compromise, or are these caveats something that should have been around for years? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!

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