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Twitter’s 140 Character model iterated

May 24, 2016 Twitter announced a number a fundamental update to its service through its Blog and not surprisingly a tweet with a GIF attachment. The company has been making small but significant adjustments since Jack Dorsey, Co- founder of Twitter took over the reigns as CEO. We saw the overhaul of “favourites to likes” , enabling of polling feature and most recently the introduction of GIFs , which is proving to be a highly popular attribute.

In an effort to increase user growth and please investors, Twitter has iterated what counts in the 140 character count. As stated on Twitter’s blog, “@names in replies and media attachments (like photos, GIFs, videos, and polls) will no longer “use up” valuable characters”.  These updates will be launched in the next couple of months.

So how do these changes affect core users and brands?  Here is an official breakdown from the company blog post:

  • Replies: 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.
  • Media attachments: When you add attachments like photos, GIFs, videos, polls, or Quote Tweets, that media will no longer count as characters within your Tweet. More room for words!
  • Retweet and Quote Tweet yourself: We’ll be enabling the Retweet button on your own Tweets, so you can easily Retweet or Quote Tweet yourself when you want to share a new reflection or feel like a really good one went unnoticed.
  • Goodbye, .@: These changes will help simplify the rules around Tweets that start with a username. New Tweets that begin with a username will reach all your followers. (That means you’ll no longer have to use the ”.@” convention, which people currently use to broadcast Tweets broadly.) If you want a reply to be seen by all your followers, you will be able to Retweet it to signal that you intend for it to be viewed more broadly.

I personally think twitter has made small but significant strides to improving its service despite a drop of just over 2% in share price on the day it announced upcoming updates. A number of questions have been raised regarding online harassment and how it plans to tackle the problem.

Still, It is amazing to see how the planned updates have been recieved by largely a positive reaction. I look forward to enjoying the new features once they are implemented.

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