Twitter Makes It Easier to Squeeze in More Than 140 Characters
(ABC) -- Twitter's 140-character limit, which has long been the foundation of the site, is being relaxed in a move the social network hopes will make it easier for users to tweet more media-rich content without worrying about running out of characters.
The new changes, which have long been rumored, were announced this morning in a blog post and are expected to be rolled out to users in the coming months. Twitter plans to "simplify" tweets by no longer counting usernames in replies and media attachments, including polls, photos, videos and GIFs, as part of a user's 140-character expenditure.
The retweet button will also be enabled for users to click on their own tweets, allowing them to retweet themselves or share an additional note alongside a previous tweet.
Another change sure to shake up the service for long-time Twitter users is the death of the .@ convention, which is used when someone wants to reply to another user but wants to make sure all of their followers see the tweet.
Previously, beginning a tweet with just a person's username would mean the message would only surface in the streams of mutual followers a user has with the person they're replying to. When the new changes are implemented, users will be able to broadcast a reply more widely with the retweet button.
Todd Sherman, a senior product manager at Twitter, said in a blog post that the social network was announcing the changes today to ensure developer partners have time to make updates to products built on Twitter's application program interface.
"We're notifying you and our developers, so that everything works as it should when we roll these changes out," he wrote. "The updates have a significant impact on Tweets."
It's been a year of metamorphosis for Twitter. Among the changes were a new "home timeline" feature debuted in February, shaking up the traditional reverse chronological timeline by first showing the top tweets a user is most likely to care about since they were last on the site.
Twitter dropped its longtime star icon that signified a favorite tweet last November and replaced it with a heart, which is meant to signify a like.