‘Say more’ Tweet out 140 characters and a photo. Yippee!
Big, big news, friends: As of Monday, you can devote all 140 characters of a tweet to absolute, raving gibberish and still attach a photo!
Yes! Per the official @twitter account: “Say more about what’s happening! Rolling out now: photos, videos, GIFs, polls, and Quote Tweets no longer count toward your 140 characters.”
This opens up a world of possibilities. Previously, such attachments cost 23 precious characters — or 16.4 percent — of an entire tweet, so tweeting became a series of compromises and impossible choices: attach that GIF of Harambe, or type a few more misspelled, all-caps words of outrage? Tweet the photo of Brangelina overlaid with Snapchat-style broken hearts, or list all six of the kids’ names?
Well, no more! Twitter users can do both! This comes amid a series of changes announced May 16 in a blog post by Todd Sherman, Twitter’s senior product manager. In addition to the media attachment change, Sherman also announced that in the coming months, the “.@” convention, used to broadcast tweets to all a user’s followers, will no longer be necessary as “new Tweets that begin with a username will reach all your followers.”
Sherman also reported that “when replying to a Tweet, @names will no longer count toward the 140-character count. This will make having conversations on Twitter easier and more straightforward, no more penny-pinching your words to ensure they reach the whole group.” This change, however, is currently being tested with a select number of users and hasn’t yet been rolled out to all of Twitter.
Though some users have been creative in circumventing Twitter’s limitations — whether via “tweetstorms” in which a users (often hysterically) reply to their own tweets or by taking screenshots of longer messages and then tweeting those — the essential format is unlikely to change, according to Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey. In a long, screen-grab Tweet from Jan. 16, he wrote:
“At its core Twitter is public messaging. A simple way to say something, to anyone, that everyone in the world can see instantly.
“We didn’t start Twitter with a 140 character restriction. We added that early on to fit into a single SMS message (160 characters).
“It’s become a beautiful constraint, and I love it! It inspires creativity and brevity. And a sense of speed. We will never lose that feeling…
“What makes Twitter, Twitter is its fast, public, live conversational nature. We will always work to strengthen that. For every person around the world, in every language!”
Some tech industry watchers speculate that the change in Twitter’s media attachment/character count parameter is a reaction to Instagram’s continued ascendancy — Credit Suisse Group AG forecasted $3.2 billion in ad revenue for Instagram owner Facebook this year alone.
While Twitter itself reports 313 million active monthly users, a Bloomberg analysis reported in June that Twitter has about 140 million daily users, while 4-year-old Snapchat has around 150 million. It’s no secret that Twitter, which celebrated its 10th anniversary in March, is fighting for relevance amid lighting-swift changes in social media.
Which leads back to media attachments no longer taking away those precious 23 characters. In celebration of the change, and because today is the first day of autumn, some suggested tweets: