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Twitter Announces Subtle but Far-Reaching Changes in System

The world’s favorite 140-character engine has some new changes coming that will hopefully draw in a whole new pool of users.

Social media is king these days. So, whether or not you’re a fan of the little blue birdie, you might have heard that Twitter is making some significant changes to the way users tweet. The new changes will come as a happy surprise for those itching to make the most use of the character limit, but they may also take away some of the “secret sauce” that used to distinguish the platform.

Let’s get one thing straight, users are still limited to 140 characters overall for now. But things like pictures and GIFs, which used to take up precious character space in a tweet will no longer count against the 140 character count. In a similar vein, people who love to use Twitter for group conversations will be happy to learn that now tagging people in posts before the text of the tweet also won’t count against the overall character limit.

Another change is that you will now be able to “retweet” yourself, not just posts by other people. And in general Twitter is encouraging users to retweet their replies to other people if they want them to be public, rather than using the “.@” convention that is common across the platform.

Twitter’s announced changes have brought both praise and criticism from active users. Some fear that the group conversation feature will make it easier for spammers to target their account. And others are confused or nostalgic about the phasing out of the “.@” symbology. One can’t help but wonder if veteran users of the system will miss being “in the know” about these quirky and common workarounds.

But, Twitter has struggled to grow its user base in recent years, and many speculate that these changes are an effort to make the platform easier to understand for new users. Over time, the changes will likely get absorbed into the system and accepted as the new way of tweeting.

Header Image: Andrew Burton / Staff


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