After months of speculation, Twitter has finally revealed the long-awaited change to its character limit; and it’s not 10,000 characters or any form of expansion for that matter. Instead, the 140 character limit remains the same but no longer includes images and links.
Previously, images (which are also shared as links) and other rich media content were included in the 140 limit, with each using up a total of 23 characters each. This means that if you wrote a tweet and included a link plus an image, you would only have 94 characters for writing your message. Although there is no expansion, you will be able to squeeze in more characters in your message in the same scenario with the new update. Twitter says the changes will be rolled out to all of its mobile app and desktop users in coming months.
The relaxed rule on character limit also applies to polls, videos, GIFs, quoted tweets and usernames, as well as user handles that are included in replies, so you are truly getting 140 characters to say what you want to say.
Over the years, there have been many calling for the limit to be expanded, especially business accounts who normally include website links and images in their tweets. While the social platform has stuck to the 140, the new update will at least lessen the need to find creative ways to abbreviate messages.
This latest move by Twitter is probably one of the most significant in recent times in light of the fact that the restrictions on the 140 characters have been pretty much a part of the platform since inception. It is felt the recent raft of changes, including swapping favorites for likes and switching up its timeline, has come about due to more competition within the social media landscape. Although Twitter remains one of the major platforms, its growth has been slow over the past year compared to newcomers such as Snapchat. The competition factor is also the reason why Instagram has been making changes to its timeline as well, and even Facebook has rolled out numerous tweaks despite being the leading app.
In addition to allowing more characters for writing, the character limit update will also change the way replies are sent. In other words, @names will no longer take away from the 140 characters and will make replies less confusing than before. Furthermore, retweets and quoting your own tweets will also have no bearing on the 140 character limit. In fact, a retweet button will be enabled to make it easy for you to retweet your own message or quote a tweet you thought didn’t get the attention it deserved.
All these changes were mentioned in a Twitter blog post dated May 24 and there have been mixed reactions so far from the Twittersphere. While many have welcomed the new changes, others have expressed their disapproval, believing the platform is slowly losing its identity.
Still, the update to the character limit will prove most beneficial to brands. The main reason for this is because it encourages more images to be included with tweets and tweets containing images receive 18% more clicks than those without. They also get more engagement, including 150% more retweets and 89% more likes.
Millions of brands now advertise on Twitter, which has over 300 million monthly active users. With 75% of active Twitter followers willing to recommend the brands they follow, the new update could help businesses achieve increased engagement from rich media content while being able to state their message clearer in 140 characters. Twitter’s continued viability could also receive a much-needed shot in the arm.