By Daniel Bailey, Digital Account Lead
Do you feel that? There’s a shift happening in the Twittersphere… As of this week (commencing 19th September), your tweets are now going a lot further. How? Twitter has changed the way that characters are counted in your tweets. Gone are the days of having to shorten your tweets using “old-skwl txt sp3ak” to ensure you have enough characters spare to post a GIF. Twitter has heard your cries and it’s removing the count for media attachments; this includes images, GIFs, videos, polls and quoted tweets. Giving you more space in terms of valuable characters to play with.
This is a bigger deal than you might think. Here’s what’s in the social network’s latest update:
- Replies – When you reply to a tweet, @TwitterHandles won’t count toward the infamous 140-character limit. This will make having conversations more straightforward on Twitter. It’s a great addition, especially for businesses that are monitoring their communities looking for engagement opportunities. It will be easier to get their message across and build greater rapport with customers/prospects.
- Media attachments – Anything from photos, GIFs, videos, polls and even quoted tweets will no longer count towards the character limit. This is perfect for pushing traffic to a communications asset, like a whitepaper or webinar as it allows you to include images that can help your tweets stand out, ultimately increasing engagement.
- Retweeting and Quote Tweeting yourself – This is perfect for those Twitter users with big egos, Twitter now lets you retweet or quote tweet your own tweets for those times when you think that amazing joke went unnoticed amongst the majority of your followers. You can use it, for example, to promote your latest Twitter Poll — by retweeting/quote tweeting it, you can encourage more of your followers to take part.
- Goodbye to “.@” – This is a big one (for me at least)… the new changes that are coming are simplifying the rules around tweets that start with an @TwitterHandle. From this week, any new tweet that begins with an @TwitterHandle will reach all of your followers, so it’s time to say goodbye to the “.@” workaround that’s been so prevalent on Twitter over the years. If a business wants to share a positive reply from one of its followers, then a simple retweet is all that’s needed to ensure it reaches a wider audience.
In the alleged words of Greek philosopher Heraclitus of Ephesus “Change is the only constant in life”. Whilst some users might hit back at the idea of extending the maximum number of characters used in a tweet, I feel that it’s a good middle-ground, and Twitter has recognised the importance of visual media and its role in enriching our news feeds by accommodating the demand. Just try not to go too mad with images, polls and GIFs in every one of your tweets. But if you do fancy getting on the GIFs then go ahead and read my blog titled Never Gonna GIF You Up.