Twitter introduces 4 big changes that will make tweets much easier to send and read

Twitter's giving you more room to work in 140 characters, and tweaking replies so they're easier to use.

Twitter isn’t abolishing its defining 140-character limit for tweets, but it’s making some big changes so you can do more within those confines. Other tweaks to the way replies work will remove some of the “inside baseball” Twitter tricks that act as a barrier to entry for new users.

In the future, any media you attach to a tweet—be it an image, video, Periscope stream, poll, whatever—will no longer eat into your precious limit. Twitter’s post doesn’t mention links to websites being regarded as media, so those seem likely to still consume a blanket 23 characters regardless of length. That’s a bit of a bummer, but hey, baby steps.

Twitter users’ @names won’t count against the 140-character limit when you’re making a reply anymore, however, so replies in conversations with multiple people involved should no longer devolve into spit-out single word responses to each other. Yay! And when you start a new message—not a response—with a Twitter user's @name, Twitter will now show it to all your followers. Before, Twitter counted all messages that started with a user’s handle as a reply, and only showed it to people who followed both the sender and the recipient. If you wanted all your followers to see a message like that, you had to precede the other users’ name with punctuation to work around the system. It looked like this:

No more. Again: Yay!

Continuing with the “kill those inside baseball workarounds” theme, Twitter’s also enabling the retweet button for your own tweets. That way, if you make a response to another person, you can easily share it with your followers without resorting to the punctuation tricks detailed above. The change means you’ll also be able to quote your own tweets to expand on your original thoughts.

The changes won’t be available immediately though. Twitter says they “will be available over the coming months,” but it wants to give developers time to prepare for these significant tweaks. Plans for other changes are brewing, the company says. Maybe an edit button? Please an edit button?

The story behind the story: Twitter’s 140-character limit was birthed from the service’s original reliance on SMS messages, but quickly became the service’s standout feature. The introduction of links and support for numerous media types have made that limit feel constrained in recent years, however. This new change—first rumored earlier this month—lets Twitter users have their cake and eat it, too.

Twitter’s also had a tough time bringing new users onboard, and byzantine workarounds to avoid hiding messages that began with an @name sure didn’t help. The changes on those front, coupled with the introduction of features like Twitter Moments, should help Twitter noobs feel less like they’re drowning in the stream. Hopefully.

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags twittersocial media

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Brad Chacos

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?