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Official: Twitter will stop counting media & usernames against 140-character limit
Company also plans to make all replies more visible by removing the need to put a period before a username.
Your tweets are getting a little more breathing room. Twitter has confirmed plans to stop counting media attachments and @usernames (in replies) against a tweet’s 140-character limit. Links, however, will still count toward the limit.
This should be very welcome news for both Twitter users and advertisers. It means more room for text and conversation in each tweet and less frustration for everyone who’s been forced to edit their words in order to fit them inside Twitter’s constraints. Here’s a look at everything that’s changing:
Media attachments, but not links
Media attachments take up 24 characters, so if you’re attaching a photo or video, that media uses more than 17 percent of your allowed space — and that’s even before you’ve typed a single letter. With this change, those attachments — whether video, photo, GIF or poll — will no longer count against the 140-character limit. Twitter is making it easier for users to share media in tweets while still being able to comment on what’s being shared.
Links, however, will continue to count as 23 characters against the limit. It may seem counterintuitive to keep counting links while no longer counting media, but Twitter’s thinking is that not counting links against the character limit could open the door for spammy tweets with numerous links.
This will also apply to Sponsored Tweets, giving advertisers more room to tell their story or pitch their products and services with both text and media.
@Usernames in replies
Twitter will also stop counting @usernames against the 140-character limit, but only if the usernames are in a reply. Any @usernames included in original tweets will still count against the limit. Here are a couple examples to illustrate how this works:
1.) In the tweet below, I’m replying to a tweet from Marketing Land contributor Greg Sterling. I’ve used three @usernames, but in the future, none of these usernames would count against the character limit.
As long as the tweet is a reply, you can include as many usernames as you want without affecting the 140-character limit. And it doesn’t matter where the usernames appear in the tweet — they won’t count. So if you click reply to a tweet, then type your reply before the username, it still won’t count against the limit.
2.) In the case below, I’ve used the same three usernames, but all of them would count against the limit because this is an original tweet, not a reply.
Goodbye .@Username, hello self-retweets
Twitter is eliminating the need to begin a reply with a period in order for all of your followers to see a tweeted reply. New tweets that start with a username will now be seen by all of your followers. That’s how Twitter worked many years ago, and this change ends one of the service’s most confusing usability/visibility issues.
And finally, if you’ve ever been tempted to retweet yourself, good news: Twitter will enable the retweet button on your own tweets. That frees you up to resend old tweets more easily.
When’s it all happening? Twitter isn’t offering anything more specific than “over the coming months.” Today’s announcement says one reason for the slow rollout is to give developers time to adjust and update their products to take advantage of these changes. When the changes roll out, they’ll apply worldwide on Twitter.com, the Twitter iOS and Android app, Tweetdeck, Twitter for Mac and ads.twitter.com as well.
Some opinions expressed in this article may be those of a guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. Staff authors are listed here.