twitter-logoIt’s official!  Twitter is confirming that they have plans to stop counting media attachments and @usernames (in replies) against a tweet’s 140 character limit.  But when it comes down to links, the will still count toward that limit.

For a number of users and advertisers, this is very welcome news.  This means that they will have more room to tweet and reply to each other without dealing with the frustration of trying to fit a smaller amount of tweet material into a tweet.

Here’s what’s changing:

First, as mentioned earlier, is the media attachments.  They can take up 24 characters in a tweet, so by adding anything like a photo or video, you’ve already taken up about 17 percent of your usable tweet space.  But now, with the change that media attachments aren’t going to affect usable tweet space, users will have more space to do what they need to do in their message.

But links will still continue to count as 23 characters against the limit.  Although this doesn’t seem right, as media attachments don’t count towards the limit, links don’t count as media.  In the mind of Twitter, not counting links against the character limit could end up causing more spammy tweets with numerous links to appear.

This change even applies to Sponsored Tweets.

Next are the @usernames in replies. [email protected] will stop being counted against the 140 character limit, but only if the user name is in a reply.  An @username that is included in original tweets are still going to count against the limit

As an example, here’s a reply to a tweet written by Greg Sterling by .  Matt has used three different @usersnames, but none of them will count against the character limit in the future.


Ultimately, if the tweet is a reply, you can have as many usernames in your tweet without affecting the 140 character limit.

But if the tweet is an original tweet and not a reply, then those three @usernames would count as toward the limit.  Again, the same three @usernames have been used in one of Matt’s tweets, and they would all still go against the limit in the future, as it’s not a reply.


The third thing that Twitter is eliminating is the need to begin a reply with a period in order for all of your followers to see a tweeted reply.  Before, if you replied to a Twitter user and didn’t include a period before their name (.@username), only the person who you replied to would see the tweet.  But going forward, new tweets that begin with a username will now be seen by all of your followers.  This was one of the most confusing usability issues facing Twitter users, and now they won’t worry about it when this change goes into effect.

Finally, have you ever wanted to retweet yourself?  But when you’d go to your tweet, you’d find that the retweet button was grayed out unusable.  Twitter will enable the retweet button on your own tweets.  Now, if you have a tweet you want to resend to your followers, you can just hit the retweet button!

The big question that many people, including myself, has is, when are the changes going to happen?  There’s no specific date, but all Twitter has said is that they will come “over the coming months.”  The announcement that was made today (May 24th) stated that the reason for the slow rollout was to give developers time to adjust and update their products to take advantage of these changes.  Once the changes have rolled out, they’ll be applied worldwide on all things Twitter, such as Twitter.com, the Twitter iOS and Android app, Twitter for Mac and ads.twitter.com.

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