How many times have you had to shorten what you say in a tweet to make room for a link or media? For some, this is a highly annoying, but common downside to crafting tweets. It’s not that you need more characters, but too many things are being counted towards the limited character space (140 with spaces).
You might think, why not just drop the links and photos. To that I say, good luck being noticed in a sea of tweets that are given more tweet real estate than yours because they included a link or photo. You need these elements sometimes to really stand out on Twitter. Additionally, folks use links and media to add more context to their tweets or further illustrate a point.
Twitter has announced it will no longer count media attachments and usernames at the beginning of tweets towards your 140 character limit. See the above tweet for a quick breakdown, but keep the following in mind:
Additionally, new tweets that start with any username will be seen by everyone! No more placing a dot in front of the username to make sure others can see what’s being said. This is how things worked when Twitter was originally built. It complimented the serendipitous nature of Twitter to see a random tweet from a conversation fly across your timeline.
As Twitter grew, these tweets would lose some of that serendipitous feel and start to be seen as “noise” due to lack of context. Now that Twitter has designed an excellent way of threading tweets to follow conversations, users can hopefully get back to serendipitously discovering fresh conversations starting in their timeline.
You’ll also soon be able to Retweet and Quote Tweet yourself:
We’ll be enabling the Retweet button on your own Tweets, so you can easily Retweet or Quote Tweet yourself when you want to share a new reflection or feel like a really good one went unnoticed.
Some of these changes could free up 20 characters or more for your tweeting pleasure. For Twitter, the changes could result in an increase in engagement and shared media.
This is a highly requested and long overdue move from Twitter. However, it’s interesting that links were left out of the mix when so many are shared and shortened by Twitter’s very own short URL service. Hopefully, this is something on their roadmap for the future.