Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey announced four important changes will be coming to the struggling social media giant.
For years, Twitter users have demanded the platform ease its strict guideline restricting content to a mere 140 characters.
In the early days of Twitter, the content restriction was seen as a positive feature that differentiated the social site from the congested timelines of Facebook.
However, in the age of gifs and growing demand for visual content, the character limit leaves new users confused and veteran users walking away entirely.
Though no date for implementation was given, today’s unveiling shows a positive step forward for Twitter.
Here are four changes you can expect to see in the coming months:
1. 140 Characters Restriction Remains
Contrary to much that has been published, the character limit on Twitter is not going away any time soon.
However, Jack Dorsey did announce that visual content will no longer count against the 140 character restriction.
Previously, content like videos, photos, polls and gifs went against the available commentary. Links entered into the content interface will continue to count as characters. While the character limit will continue to challenge users to get more creative with how we tweet, Dorsey is removing one hurdle in the process.
2. No More .@
Under Twitter’s current guidelines, beginning any tweet with a username results in that tweet being seen only by the sender, the recipient and users following both the sender and the recipient.
Originally intended as a privacy and content filter, the restriction drew criticism from those wanting interactions to be seen by a wider audience.
In order to sidestep the restriction, users began using a period ahead of a username. This was often confused as a “secret language” on the platform, confusing and alienating new users.
The practice will no longer be necessary as mention tweets will be served to all user followers.
3. Welcome Back Group Conversations
Aside from using Twitter’s private messaging feature, group messaging on the platform is nearly impossible.
More user handles listed in reply tweets will greatly limit the remaining availability of characters, therefore restricting how much text can be included in the conversation.
Eventually, usernames have to be excluded from further tweets in order to maintain enough room for effective conversation. Dorsey stated that this will no longer be the case.
Any user handles used ahead of the tweet will not count against the available characters and will be displayed as a different part of the interface.
Using a user handle within the body of the tweet, however, will continue to count against the 140 character limit.
4. Retweet and Quote Yourself
A fairly obvious oversight in Twitter’s user experience is the inability to retweet or quote your own tweets.
The restriction was seen as a way to cut down on potential spam overloading a user’s timeline.
While that may be true, members had no way of ensuring their content was being seen after the initial post. Additionally, there was no way for users to quote their own past tweets and add new commentary. Once the updates take effect, you can now rebroadcast yourself any time and as many times as you would like.
The new features come at a time when Twitter desperately needs to revamp its image and user experience.
The company has seen stagnant user growth, and its stock price has fallen dramatically since the beginning of the year.
In fact, ahead of Dorsey’s announcement of the updates, analysts at MoffettNathanson downgraded Twitter’s stock from “neutral” to “sell”.
Time will tell if these updates will have any effect on public and financial perception. In the meantime, tweet me your thoughts on the changes coming to Twitter!