Twitter’s 140 Character Limit Update is the Biggest to Date

31 March 2017| Post by Graham2 minutes


That’s right, Twitter have announced that you can now express more with 140 characters…again. But this time is looks at issues surrounding the confusing conversation feature that has left most of us baffled for some time.

Any change to a social media platform, no matter how small, seems to cause absolute uproar between users. Remember when Instagram dragged their logo into the 21st century and everyone lost their minds? No? Let this fancy video jog your memory.

Twitter’s 140 Character Limit Update

Well, Twitter has announced that they’ve just made the most important changes to their core product – removing usernames from the painstaking 140 character limit within reply tweets.

Twitter's 140 Character Limit Update

Why Change Things?

Prior to this update, following a conversation on Twitter was extremely difficult and confusing. Over time, a tweet with a username signalled that you were replying to someone. But this created clutter in everyone else’s timelines, particularly if you only followed one person in that conversation.

In 2009, Twitter tackled this issue by hiding the tweets that started with a username that you weren’t following. However, even after this change the conversation experience on Twitter was far from ideal.

Fast forward to 2013, Twitter made replies to tweets a built-in feature which started stringing conversations together, allowing users to view the entire conversation instead of individual tweets. However, after this change, a reply to a tweet still had to start with the username of the person being addressed to appear as part of the conversation.

The main problem here was that these usernames counted against the 140-character limit. Meaning the more people included within the conversation, the less room there was for the actual tweet. Most recently, Twitter have announced an update to combat this issue.

What’s Changed?

With this change they’ve simplified conversations in a few ways:

• Who you are replying to will appear above the Tweet text rather than within the Tweet text itself, so you have more characters to have conversations.
• You can tap on “Replying to…” to easily see and control who is part of your conversation.
• When reading a conversation, you’ll actually see what people are saying, rather than seeing lots of @usernames at the start of a Tweet.

Twitter has listened to feedback as well as research and experimentation and found that people are engaging more with conversations on Twitter. Although they admit it isn’t perfect, this update is a big step towards creating a better user experience.


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