Changes to the Twitter Platform

Catharine Cody

Recently, we profiled some pending changes to LinkedIn. In just the past few months, Twitter too has added a number of new features, including the ability to poll users’ communities, react with GIFs, and share Periscope broadcasts within a tweet. In late May, the platform announced additional changes designed to help users share even more content.

Changes to Tweet Character Counts:

Tweets will still be limited to 140 characters, but only the actual text will be included in the character count. Details of this change include:

Mentions: When replying to a Tweet, @names will no longer count toward the 140-character count. This will make having conversations on Twitter easier and more straightforward.

Media attachments: Attachments, such as photos, GIFs, videos, polls, or quote tweets, will no longer count as characters within the tweet, leaving more room for users to share their POVs.

Self-promotion: Twitter will enable the retweet button on personal tweets, so users can easily retweet or quote tweet oneself when they want to share a new reflection or feel like a good post went unnoticed.

Direct tweets:  New tweets that begin with a username can now reach all of one’s followers, if the tweet is retweeted (see above). This means users will no longer have to use the ”.@” convention, which people currently use to broadcast tweets more broadly.

– For example, instead of writing .@USNews shares unique insights into new #STEM report: [link]. You can simply remove the “.” in the beginning of the post.

These changes will gradually come into effect over the next several weeks, so be sure to keep an eye out for definitive dates and additional features.


New Best Practices in Tweets:

These changes to tweet character counts mean that written context and interpretation within tweets is more important than ever. Rather than simply being a means of distributing and sharing content, Twitter will be a platform for providing commentary and fostering discussion—in a highly visual way. Below are a few recommendations in order to optimize tweets, once these new rules take effect:

Use highly visual material. Visual tweets have always had higher rates of readership and engagement. Since media is now, in effect, free, leverage visuals in Twitter content.

Be old fashioned. We still recommend including the “.@” convention for tweets in order to maximize exposure. Some may forget the need to retweet one’s own content in order to achieve the same effect.

Show personality. Social media is, by name, a social platform. With 140 characters now solely devoted to content, allocate a few of those characters to sharing reactions, interpretations or fostering additional conversation.