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Twitter to relax character limits

Posted on September 14, 2016

 

Recent reports suggest that popular microblogging site, Twitter is set to relax its 140-character limit so that users can squeeze more content into tweets.

The move will see the platform no longer counting media items such as photos, polls, GIFs, videos and quoted tweets as part of the 140 characters. As well as this, when a user replies to a tweet, the @username will be exempt from the character count.

All of this means that users of the platform can use their 140 characters for more of their own original content and not be limited by the addition of media.

The rumours about the company introducing a more relaxed approach to its character limits came back in May, so the move does not come as a surprise to many. Although an official date for the update has not been announced by the company, some reports suggest that it will come into effect as early as next Monday, September 19th.

The site’s iconic character length has been a hot topic for debate in recent years, as the company has often considered removing or changing the character limits, which have been a prominent feature of the site since its inception in 2006. Some reports even suggested that CEO Jack Dorsey wanted to rid the site of these limits altogether in January this year. This was met with much criticism from users and even led to share prices in the company dipping by over 2%.

After the site recovered from this, Dorsey confirmed that the 140-character limit would be staying put as it was a “beautiful constraint” that prompted users to think creatively about their tweets and kept them conversational in nature.

In August 2015, the site decided to change the character limit for its direct messaging service, which also stuck to the 140-character rule, but the change to 10,000 characters for private messages has proved to be a successful one and prompted company bosses to discuss what could be done to improve the usability of tweets without ridding the site of its hallmark feature.

As yet, Twitter has not said whether links will be included in the character change. This is something a lot of users and businesses would be looking out for, as links currently take away 23 characters from a potential tweet, even after the link has been automatically shortened. Links to websites and products are commonly used by business accounts on the site, who then have to sacrifice a little creativity when it comes to the accompanying message.

The way in which users interact with the site has changed in recent years with use from the desktop site now being eclipsed by the mobile app version of the platform, but the company still wants to keep to its original idea of having tweets emulate the length of SMS messages.

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  • […] idea of introducing a bit of wiggle room into Twitter’s character limit has been mooted several times before, and it now looks like the microblogging site is finally implementing the change, with a blog post […]

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