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 PC World 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

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles


GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy


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

Anthony Grifoni


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

Steph Mundell


The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi


The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott


My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?