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article imageTwitter lets you speak more freely with new 140-character rules

By James Walker     May 24, 2016 in Internet
Twitter has announced a significant revision of its 140-character Tweet rule. The company will soon exclude replies, mentions and media such as photos and videos from the restrictions, giving you more characters to type your own message with.
The change has been welcomed by users. Currently, mentioning another user with @user, attaching a photo, GIF, video or poll or replying to a Tweet consumes some of the 140 characters available, often preventing you from expressing yourself fully.
With an update arriving in the "coming months," Twitter will change all that, relaxing the regulations to make its product easier to use and more attractive to newcomers. It announced the new 140-character system in a blog post today.
"So, you can already do a lot in a Tweet, but we want you to be able to do even more," said Twitter. "In the coming months we'll make changes to simplify Tweets including what counts toward your 140 characters, so for instance, @names in replies and media attachments (like photos, GIFs, videos and polls) will no longer 'use up' valuable characters."
Adding media such as photo and videos will no longer affect the total number of characters you can post. This allows you to attach images without restricting the length of the caption you can write, letting you attach images to lengthier Tweets.
Likewise, when you reply to a Tweet, the name of the original poster will no longer count towards the character count. Conversations on Twitter will be simplified, letting you exchange longer messages without being limited by characters consumed by involving other users.
Twitter is also removing the ".@" convention used to publicly tweet to users. Starting a Tweet with a username currently sends it privately to that user, preventing your followers from seeing the Tweet. Because people often want to address Tweets to other users and post them publicly, ".@" emerged as a simple but confusing workaround.
This technique is now a thing of the past. Twitter will soon broadcast all Tweets publicly, removing the need to prefix usernames with a period. Replies will still be delivered privately but can be retweeted to expose them to the public.
Finally, Twitter announced it will enable the Retweet and Quote Tweet buttons on your own Tweets, letting you promote older posts by putting them at the top of your feed again. It will allow you to gain more exposure for individual Tweets and emphasise important messages.
Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey told the BBC that the company is making the changes because its current service "doesn't make sense." He described the ".@username" convention as "ugly" and "confusing," admitting that posting on Twitter can be a frustrating experience.
Twitter is currently fighting an uphill battle to grow its audience. The number of active users on the platform has stagnated over the past couple of years. Analysts have blamed Twitter's problems on a lack of standout features to attract new users.
The changes may go some way to resolving when they roll-out later this year. Twitter hasn't provided a timeframe for when the changes should be implemented. Today's announcement is an advance notice so developers of third-party apps and services that connect to Twitter can issue updates before the major changes land.
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