Twitter announced a number of changes to tweets last week, counting what will be included in a message’s 140-character count up.
The changes, which will be rolled out in the upcoming months, were outlined by Twitter Senior Product Manager Todd Sherman:
- When replying to a tweet, tagged @names at the start of the answer no longer will be included in the character count up.
- Photos, GIFs, videos, polls and quote tweets no longer will be counted alongside the character limit.
- Tweets that begin with a username will be delivered to all followers of that user. Earlier, a period had to be inserted before the username, otherwise the tweet would be seen only by the followers of the writer of the tweet and any other usernames in the tweet.
- Users will be able to retweet and quote tweet themselves.
Platform for Narcissism
While the proposed changes aren’t likely to cause a protest among most Twitter users, self-retweeting may displease some of them, maintained John Carroll, a mass communications professor at Boston University.
“There are a lot people who will look on retweeting yourself with dismay,” he said.
“People are so self-obsessed that it could become a form of spam that clogs up people’s timelines,” Carroll continued. “It’s one more platform for narcissism.”
A good thing about the changes, although, is that they show a flexibility that has been missing in the past. “Twitter held firm too long on a very severe format,” said Andreas Scherer, managing partner at Salto Partners.
“This announcement is a sign that the company is willing to rethink the experience users have with its service,” he said.
However, the changes probably will be interesting only to power users of the service, said Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research.
“They won’t do anything at all to drive user growth,” he said.
Twitter power user Erna Alfred Liousas, an analyst with Forrester Research, welcomed the changes.
“They’re addressing things that didn’t make sense to all of us who use the platform on a regular basis,” she said.
“The changes will re-enforce why we’re on the platform. We’ll actually be able to have conversations without being penalized for including a person or link or photo,” Liousas said.
“The changes won’t bring new users to the platform,” she added, “but they’ll make the experience overall a lot smoother.”
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