It’s been a long time since Twitter first said it would help users get the most from their tweets by not counting @replies as part of the 140-character limit. Following a testing phase with a subset of users last October, the change has finally rolled out to everyone.
Talk of Twitter totally abandoning its sacrosanct 140-character tweet limit has been met with resistance from many people. Tweets are famed for their brevity – removing this defining attribute could turn the site into another Facebook. As a compromise, Twitter stopped counting GIFs, images, videos, and quote tweets toward the character limit. Now, @replies joins that list.
In a blog post, product manager Sasank Reddy explains the changes. When replying to others, the @usernames of those taking part in the conversation will appear above your tweet, rather than within the body of text.
Additionally, you can now click on the ‘Replying to’ field to bring up a list of everyone in the conversation. A checkbox system allows you to select which people you want in the reply list. Though it has to be said that a "select/untag all" option would have been welcome.
“The updates we’re making today are based on feedback from all of you as well as research and experimentation. In our tests of this new experience, we found that people engage more with conversations on Twitter,” writes Reddy.
As well as allowing more room for tweet content, Twitter says the new system makes it easier to follow and take part in popular and extensive conversation threads. It will no doubt hope the change results in the microblogging site becoming less confusing for those all-important new users, too.
It seems, however, many current Twitter users aren’t too pleased with the update. The main complaint being that it makes everything more confusing, not less.