Twitter rolled out a new update to ease the 140-character limit. Now, when you reply to someone or a group, those @usernames won’t count toward the cap.
To make that happen, the handles — a person’s Twitter name preceded by the @ sign — are being removed from reply tweets altogether. When you reply to people, the handle will be displayed above the tweet in small text. You must click to see the names of any additional people included in the conversation. Usernames in original, non-reply tweets still count toward the character limit.
When reading a conversation, you’ll actually see what people are saying, rather than seeing lots of @usernames at the start of a Tweet.
Maximizing tweet space
Twitter started maximizing tweet space in September, when it decreed that quoted tweets and attached media would not count toward the 140-character limit.
The social media tested the new feature on selected users last fall. And they were not all happy. Professor Tressie McMillan Cottom complained on Medium she had no idea to whom she was responding.
Twitter says it’s now easier to follow a conversation. It is possible to focus more on what a discussion is about, and who is having it. Also, with all 140 characters for the replies, there is more room to participate in group conversations.
Twitter adds that it will “continue to think about how we can improve conversations and make Twitter easier to use”.
But the company will stick to the 140-character limit it has had for the past 10 years. CEO Jack Dorsey has called it “a beautiful constraint.”