Twitter’s infamous 140-character limit has been the centre of power and peril since the launch of the micro-blogging social networking platform a decade ago, forcing users to break up their messages into multiple tweets, sacrifice pictures for characters and use ridiculous abbreviations.
After years of tweaking and chopping, the company has finally implemented exactly what Twitter users have all been asking for - a new character limit. Well, sort of.
While the 140-character limit is very much still in place, the rules around what counts towards the limit have changed. @names in replies, media attachments (like photos, GIFs, videos, and polls) and quoted Tweets will no longer be counted against the valuable 140 characters that make up a tweet.
So what does this mean for individuals and organisations on Twitter?
- More detailed replies. One of the major benefits of this update is that it no longer counts @usernames as part of the character limit. Before the update, it was often difficult to have a conversation with two or more participants, with each username taking up as much as 20 characters, therefore leaving little room for an actual message. Now users can reply to tweets without considering the length of another user’s Twitter handles, giving them the opportunity to fully embrace the 140 characters available to express their thoughts.
- No more sacrificing visuals for characters. It’s no big secret that visual and media attachments are a big factor in boosting engagement. A study by Twitter itself found that photos average a 35% boost in retweets, while videos get a 28% boost. But despite these opportunities, users have long been forced to choose text over visuals (or vice versa) just to stay in the platform’s character limit. Twitter’s changes mean users can now get the best of both worlds, utilising the full 140 characters to share their copy and still include media without infringing on that limit.
- Opportunity to share longer thoughts. Over the years, it’s become common practice to break up a tweet into a couple of sections to fully elaborate and share your thoughts. With the new update, users can now use Twitter’s quote option to intertwine two separate tweets, therefore giving them a total of 280 characters to play with. This is done by simply sharing the first tweet, then quoting it and adding the rest of the message in the second tweet.
Twitter, at its heart, is all about conversation and connecting with others. Its new update has given us the opportunity to engage in conversation like never before. So what are you waiting for? Go out and get tweeting!