Twitter is drastically changing the way its character limit works


Twitter has recently announced the first major change to the way the character limit works in ten years. The 140 character limit has been synonymous with the social media platform since it was launched in 2006, and has remained largely untouched. The coming months, however, bring one of the biggest overhauls in the company’s history – changing what counts towards the character limit.

At the moment, elements in tweets like usernames, links, photos, videos and polls all take up valuable characters and count towards your 140 character limit. When the changes take effect – and Twitter has been very vague about when they will – you’ll have 140 characters to use purely on your content, with additional elements not counting. As well as this, there are a couple of other welcome changes to the format of tweets. The key refreshes that you need to be aware of are:

Photos, videos, polls or quoted tweets will no longer count towards your character limit. You will no longer have to choose between text and media – you can have both with no compromise. Media content hugely increases engagement with your tweets, so now you’ll be able to utilise images and videos without having to worry about eating up your character count

Like media, a user’s Twitter handle will no longer count towards the character limit. Previously, people with longer usernames were penalised, but now your reply starts when you begin the content. Like text messages that Twitter is based on, you often need to abbreviate words, which can come across as formal or unprofessional. While abbreviations are useful, speaking to your audience in full English will help your brand. Another big change is that all your tweets, including replies, will now appear on your followers’ timelines. Previously, replies only appeared on your profile or on the timelines of mutual followers, and a ‘.@’ reply was the only way to have it appear to everyone. This will be particularly useful for answering queries, so your entire follower list will see you reply to somebody, reducing the need to repeat yourself.

For fans of self-promotion, this will be a welcome change – you will be able to retweet your own tweets. From a business point of view, this will be useful for reminding your followers about things you’ve posted previously, removing the need to post the same tweet every week.

If you would like the know more about these changes, or to see how we can help you use Twitter as part of your digital marketing strategy, please get in touch.



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