Twitter made the following announcement today on their blog, confirming anticipated changes to the Twitter social network are on their way in the coming months.
In particular, the changes remove from the 140-character count @name replies and media attachments. This allows tweets where @names and/or media attachments are included to be a bit longer (good news.)
The changes will also eliminate the need to put a period (.) in front of the @ sign when you are replying to a tweet, and when you want it to have the potential to be seen by all of your followers.
Thus, once the change comes into effect, starting any tweet with @ will result in it being sent to all of your followers, unlike today where the @ sign, without the period, will result in the tweet going only to the account indicated by the @username.
The relevant parts of Twitter’s announcement on their blog are copied below:
Over the past decade, the Tweet has evolved from a simple 140-character text message to a rich canvas for creative expression featuring photos, videos, hashtags, Vines, and more. In just the past few months we added the ability to poll your community, react quickly and cleverly with GIFs, and share and enjoy Periscope broadcasts in Tweets.
In the coming months we’ll make changes to simplify Tweets including what counts toward your 140 characters, so for instance, @names in replies and media attachments (like photos, GIFs, videos, and polls) will no longer “use up” valuable characters. Here’s what will change:
- 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.
These updates will be available over the coming months.
In addition to the changes outlined above, we have plans to help you get even more from your Tweets. We’re exploring ways to make existing uses easier and enable new ones, all without compromising the unique brevity and speed that make Twitter the best place for live commentary, connections, and conversations.