As had been widely anticipated, Twitter has today officially launched a new set of exemptions to their 140 character limit.
Say more about what's happening! Rolling out now: photos, videos, GIFs, polls, and Quote Tweets no longer count toward your 140 characters. pic.twitter.com/I9pUC0NdZC- Twitter (@twitter) September 19, 2016
As detailed in the above GIF, uploaded photos, videos and other media - including quote tweets - no longer count towards your 140 characters per tweet. This means you now have more room to add relevant context, more flexibility with what you can add alongside the images and videos you share.
Well kind of.
Wow, the extra space for writing this tweet is really refreshing! This really changes the game for Twitter. To start with, the new limit wil https://t.co/pmEOXRIm3I- Ben Thompson (@benthompson) September 19, 2016
Jokes aside, the new changes do provide a new element to the tweet process which will have a significant impact on many who use the platform - though there are still a few elements that you need to keep in mind with the new exemptions.
For one, links still count towards your 140 characters. As you can see here, when I attach a photo, I've still got 140 characters to utilize.
But a link still counts for 23 characters.
Of course, Twitter never said links would be exempt (though there was speculation about such a change), but just to clarify - links do still count towards your 140 characters. As we've noted previously, exempting links would come with a range of problems, so it's not surprising Twitter opted to leave them out of the equation.
Also, Twitter still hasn't rolled out all the changes they originally announced back in May.
To re-cap, Twitter originally announced the following:
- @names would no longer be counted in replies
- Media attachments would no longer count against your 140 character limit
- You'd now be able to re-tweet yourself
- Tweets that begin with an @name would be seen by all your followers
With today's announcement, two of the four are now active - the outstanding updates are @names not counted in replies.
And tweets that begin with an @name going to all followers. There's no indication as yet as to when those changes will come into effect.
Given the breadth of changes and exemptions, it's interesting that Twitter's pitching this as a way to simplify the tweet process. Like, it kind of is, but as noted by TechCrunch, there's a lot of nuances that relate to what's exempt and what's not under the new system.
But even without those final measures, and the details of what is and isn't allowed aside, it's an interesting change, and one that shows Twitter is continuing to work to refine and improve the tweet process more attuned to audience requirements.
And if you're wondering, now that you can attach images without taking up any character space, what kinds of images you should be looking to attach, Twitter recently released data on which attachment types generate the best response.
- Tweets with images generate 3X more engagement than basic text updates
- Tweets with GIFs generate 6X more engagement than basic text updates
- Tweets with video generate 9X more engagement than basic text updates
Given those stats, it's worth testing out the new changes and seeing what works for your audience.