Twitter 140-character limit finally given room to breathe

25 May 2016

Twitter has officially announced that added media – like videos and images – will no longer be counted as part of its strict 140-character count. Also, @names in replies won’t be either.

Twitter’s 140-character count has been an issue for users for years, with constant complaints that there’s not enough room in one tweet to get certain messages across.

Of course, that completely ignores the limitless additional tweets that can be sent, or the fact that a conformed, short format is clearly attractive enough to gain hundreds of millions of users worldwide.

But, still, users complained and Twitter responded. “We’re not giving up on the idea of Twitter being in the moment,” said Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey.

“We’re always going to look for opportunities to make tweets a lot more expressive, and enable people to say what they want to say. As long as things are fast, easy, simple and expressive, we’re going to look at what we can do to make Twitter a better experience.”

The full suite of changes, which will be rolled out in the coming months, will mean that images, videos and @names in replies will not contribute towards the 140 limit.

Also, people will now be able to retweet and quote tweet themselves, allowing people to bring attention to older tweets. In addition, any new tweet beginning with an @name will be seen by all followers.

Early this year, Twitter introduced a new timeline feature to help users catch up on the ‘best’ tweets from the people they follow. Appearing at the top of your feed when you open up your app, it shows a handful of tweets that you may have missed.

Twitter claims “less than 2pc” of users have opted out of that feature, which encouraged the company to get tweaking again.

In April, Twitter’s $595m quarterly revenues were deemed underwhelming by shareholders – over half a billion, underwhelming – and the company’s share price dived.

Twitter image via zamzawawi isa/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic