Twitter changes up rules for 140-character limit

You can go crazy adding photos, videos and GIFs to your tweets now.

Feeling a little cramped in your tweets?

Twitter has a solution for you, without exactly lifting its 140-character limit.

The company announced in a tweet today that media will no longer count in the long-standing 140-character limit on tweet limit.

“Rolling out now: photos, videos, GIFs, polls, and Quote Tweets no longer count toward your 140 characters,” Twitter tweeted out today.

For a while now, people have been speculating that Twitter, which has been trying to gain a little more traction with its user base, would increase its character limit.

Maybe a simple 140 characters just wouldn’t be enough to say what needs to be said or to get across nuances.

Some even guessed the company might offer up a 10,000-character limit.

The question was how to get users more engaged without turning them off by reading long-winded and dense tweets.

This, according to Ezra Gottheil, an analyst with Technology Business Research, is an answer.

The actual character limit hasn’t been changed -- but what counts toward that limit has.

“I want the limit to be consistent and I don't want to be calculating whether I can add other media and still get my message across. This is simpler,” he added. “Just increasing the limit raises the issue of whether there is a limit, and no limit makes Twitter into something else entirely. This is tuning up their offering, tweaking it to make it a little bit better. It doesn't change things very much, but it is an improvement.”

For Patrick Moorhead, an analyst with Moor Insights & Strategy, being able to add media content to tweets -- without it counting against your character limit -- should make for more interesting tweeting… and reading.

“Media matters a lot. Adding media makes a big difference to people noticing and reacting to a tweet,” he said. “Users know to get people to notice what they are posting, they need to add rich media.”

Being able to add GIFs, photos and videos more liberally and without character consideration should increase user engagement.

Will that, though, be enough to increase Twitter’s user base and give its current users a kick start?

Gottheil isn’t so sure.

“I think it's marginal,” he said. “It will make users slightly happier, but no one will choose to use Twitter because it got rid of this minor annoyance.”

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Sharon Gaudin

Computerworld (US)
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