It’s been the bane of the Twitterdom for years, with many users finding it one of the most frustrating aspects of the social media platform. But those among us who find it hard to keep tweets, attachments and replies within the 140 character limit will be happy to hear that the company are no longer including usernames and media links in their character count.
This will no doubt come as a welcome relief to anyone who’s ever attempted to share an attachment or reply to anyone with a lengthy username (names can be anything up to 15 characters) and add any kind of meaningful text.
Now, composing texts will be simpler and more flexible than ever before, providing more room for content and less need for furious amounts of editing. Although many argue that a 140 character limit is a great tool for making our writing concise, less waffly and getting messages across simply and clearly, lots of users don’t realise that usernames and media attachments have been included in the big 140.
Now that’s all changing, there will be much more room for manoeuvre and a little bit of creativity too. Although the same can’t yet be said for links, which will still count towards the character limit, many companies are already one step ahead. With an increasing number of businesses choosing specially created short URLs which are cleaner, more professional looking and easier to share, they’re finding ways to significantly cut down on the amount of space they take up in tweets. There’s also a solid rationale behind keeping links within the character limit- opening up the door to longer links could mean users are also more likely to be exposed to spam posts; something nobody except unscrupulous marketers wants to see.
With media attachments taking up to 24 characters (using up a whopping 17% of your tweet space before you even write anything), sharing photos and videos has always been tricky on Twitter. Now that videos, gifs and photos will no longer count towards the limit it’s going to be far easier to have decent online conversations with other users about the media we’re sharing.
Companies posting sponsored tweets will also be party to these changes, giving them a bigger opportunity to talk to consumers in a more interesting, engaging way.
Other good news is that Twitter will be removing the need to add a period/full stop prior to a username, making it far easier to communicate and increasing the visibility of replies.
Before you get too excited, there’s one important factor to take into consideration. Those all-important @usernames will only stop counting towards the 140 character limit when they’re used in a reply. Original tweets without prior communication from the other user will still mean the name will be counted – so if you’re tweeting to someone for the first time or in a new thread, you’ll probably still need to do a fair bit of editing first.
Baby steps maybe, but it’s certainly a step in the right direction for those of us who struggle to keep it short and sweet.