Twitter: A History
On March 21, 2006 Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sent the world’s first tweet. Little did he know, he was kick-starting a media and communication revolution. The 140-character limit and the real-time chronological feed completely reshaped how information is shared.
Today news breaks almost immediately on social media. Think back to 2009 when US Airways flight 1549 crashed in the Hudson River. User @jkrums tweeted a photo of the scene long before traditional media outlets knew the crash occurred.
It was around that time that marketers realized social media networks were the perfect place to connect with customers. Twitter, too, took notice and launched promoted tweets, along with promoted accounts and trends, giving brands the opportunity to pay to reach fans.
Since Twitter’s inception the platform has introduced many major updates that enhance the user experience, including direct messages, native video, animated GIFs, auto-play Vines, Live Periscopes, Moments, and polls.
These updates have helped the platform evolve, but users still had to deal with increasing restrictions to tweet lengths, until now.
New Twitter Updates
Earlier this week, Twitter announced updates to help 140 characters go further. Replies, mentions and media attachments, will soon no longer count toward the platform’s length restrictions, giving users more freedom. The updates will roll out to all users within the next couple months.
Replies: Gone are the days of shortening responses because a handle takes up too many characters. The update makes conversations easier as @names no longer count toward the character limit. This means responses can mention more users or contain a few more words. Users must actually click the reply option on the Tweet in order for the character limit to go away. Also the old rule still applies where someone must be following both @names in order to see replies.
Media attachments: Media attachments, such as GIFs, videos, polls, or quoted tweets no longer count toward the character count, leaving more room for commentary.
Retweet and Quote Tweet yourself: Want to bump up an old tweet or add fresh perspective? Now, users can retweet or quote their own tweets. This also includes retweeting replies to make them viewable by all followers.
No more “.@”: A tweet using a @name as the first word no longer needs a period before the @ to reach all followers (.@). When starting a new tweet with a @name handle (not using the reply feature), Twitter will identify it as a normal (non-reply tweet) and push to all followers. Note: Twitter will still count @name handle mentions in the 140-character limit.
What THE TWITTER UPDATE Means for Marketers
The additional characters is great news for marketers and brands as links and photos each take up more than 20 characters. Prior to this update, brands were left with roughly 90 characters to tell their story when including both an image and a link. The new character real estate allows for more context, additional @name mentions, hashtags, and more, making content more enjoyable for followers.
Something of note is the removal of the period in front of @names when starting a tweet. The removal of the period makes the experience more seamless, however, starting a tweet with an @name that is not a reply will still be considered in the 140-character limit. Twitter recognizes original content from replies and makes the distinction that an original tweet starting with an @name is intended to be seen by the broader public.
Make the most out of those extra characters. Happy tweeting!