Twitter is staying loyal to the 140-character limit that initially made it famous. However, the platform has undergone several improvements that will allow the tweets to be longer.
For many who expected Twitter to ditch the rather measly 140-characters limit, there’s bittersweet news. While the platform won’t allow for more characters, the amount of information that can be crammed into those characters has been granted a leeway by making multiple changes in the way Twitter treats a variety of additions to the tweet.
Twitter confirmed that it was rolling out “expanded tweets” around the world. While the words may indicate Twitter is relaxing the strict character limit that forced users to the very edge of creativity and spelling contortions, it is not true. Twitter hasn’t expanded its character limit. It stays at 140 characters. However, the tweets that users will start sending out from this week will have several changes that permit more words or custom text.
Technically speaking, Twitter won’t count media attachments including images, GIFs, videos, and polls. In other words, they won’t eat into the 140 characters. Moreover, the URLs that many of the tweets contain won’t be considered as characters in a quoted tweet. Additionally, the company is currently testing new reply techniques that will categorically recognize and omit the username of the person you are replying to, from the character limit. However, if you reply to multiple people, Twitter only omits the person who sent the original tweet from the final character count.
Earlier, the media content ate up anywhere between 10 and 24 characters in a single tweet. Needless to say, the content didn’t leave much room for the custom text. Incidentally, Twitter had earlier promised that all usernames (@names) would also be excluded and not be counted against the 140 character limit. However, the promised change hasn’t been implemented yet.
While all @names might eventually be excluded from the count, there’s no mention of it in Twitter’s announcement. The company, however, said it was “exploring ways to make existing uses easier and enable new ones, all without compromising the unique brevity and speed that make Twitter the best place for live commentary, connections, and conversations.” Hence, optimistic Twitter users are still hoping the much-desired changes are in the pipeline.
Essentially, the changes Twitter has implemented has merely freed up character space. Back in May, Twitter chose to announce the impending revised character limit under the headline, “express even more in 140 characters,” and assured that its goal was to allow users to “get even more from your Tweets.”
As usual, the changes will not be seen for all Twitter users immediately. Twitter has confirmed that it is rolling out the improvements in the coming weeks and to a small batch of users at a time. Once the platform is able to get them running smoothly, a larger rollout will follow.
While these changes have been welcomed with open arms, many users are grumbling about the tardiness of the platform. Quite a few users have accused Twitter of dragging its feet because these features were in final stages of development last year. However, Twitter chose to launch the “expanded tweets,” merely with a few minor tweaks and no real change.
Earlier this year, there were persistent rumors that claimed tweets could soon contain as many as 10,000 characters. The company itself had fueled these rumors, but it’s apparent it ditched the idea because it clearly went against Twitter’s identity. While the 140 characters might be frustratingly restrictive, they have accorded the unique identity to the micro-blogging network. It is obvious; Twitter chose to retain its uniqueness.
Before the changes, Twitter users had come up with innovative techniques to circumvent the character limit. Attaching an image containing a long string of words, tweeting in numbered tweets, and other such techniques may slowly reduce in usage now.
[Featured Image by Leon Neal/Getty Images]