A round-up of Twitter changes to help you express even more in a Tweet

Our guide to Twitter’s recent developments including character limits, video and verified accounts.

You’ve crafted the perfect Tweet. Now you just need to add the picture and boom! Your character count is straight in the red.

As much as we love Twitter for its short and straight to the point niche, it can be frustrating. That’s why the social network has announced some much-anticipated changes.

TwitterPictures and people’s names will no longer be included in the 140-character Tweet limit – saving vital space for users to get their full message across. It’s just one of the many developments that has been recently announced by Twitter.

In a blog post on Twitter’s website, product manager Todd Sherman, said: “Over the past decade, the Tweet has evolved from a simple 140-character text message to a rich canvas for creative expression featuring photos, videos, hashtags, Vines, and more. In just the past few months we added the ability to poll your community, react quickly and cleverly with GIFs, and share and enjoy Periscope broadcasts in Tweets.
“So, you can already do a lot in a Tweet, but we want you to be able to do even more. In the coming months we’ll make changes to simplify Tweets including what counts toward your 140 characters.”

Here’s a full round-up of the Twitter changes you can expect to see over the coming months:

Changes to Twitter’s 140-character limit

• Replies: When replying to a Tweet, @names will no longer count toward the 140-character count. Twitter says this will make having conversations on Twitter easier and more straightforward – meaning you don’t have to cut down your words to make sure your Tweet reaches the whole group.

• Media attachments: When you add attachments like photos, GIFs, videos, polls, or Quote Tweets, that media will no longer count as characters within your Tweet. This means there’s more room for words!

• Retweet and Quote Tweet yourself: The Retweet button has been enabled on your own Tweets. This change has already been implemented so you can now easily Retweet or Quote Tweet yourself when you want to share a new reflection or feel like a really good one went unnoticed.

• Goodbye, .@: Starting a Tweet with a user name used to mean the Tweet would only be visible to people who follow both the sender and receiver. To get round that people put a . before the @ to make the Tweet public. But all that is changing. New Tweets that begin with a username will now reach all your followers. If you want a reply to be seen by all your followers, you will be able to Retweet it to signal that you intend for it to be viewed more broadly.

New ways to tap into videos on Twitter

With more 310 million users every month, Twitter is a vital tool for marketeers. Video is undoubtedly one of the biggest influencers of 2016, with Facebook Live among recent success stories.

Not to be outdone, Twitter launched Twitter Video in June. So what’s new?

• Tweet longer videos: You now have more room to unleash your creativity on Twitter. Where previously, uploaded videos were limited to 30 seconds, now anyone can create video Tweets up to 140 seconds long. (Select publishers will continue to be able to post videos up to 10 minutes long through our professional publisher tools).

• See more videos: We’re also making it easier to explore the amazing videos everyone’s Tweeting about. Tapping on a video Tweet or Vine on your timeline will take you to a new, full-screen viewing experience, where more video and Vine Tweets will be suggested below. This will be rolling out soon on Twitter for iOS and for Android.

• Twitter Engage: Twitter is giving the world’s most influential creators a way to connect directly with their fans. As a result, it has released a new app to help popular video creators better understand, engage, and grow their audiences on-the-go with real-time data and insights.

Speaking about the developments, Jeremy Rishel, head of product development for creators, said: “Every day, the world turns to Twitter to discuss the videos that everyone is talking about now – whether it’s sports, news, or music, musings from popular creators, on-the-ground footage from a world event, or a glance into daily life that might just go viral.

“Video is becoming increasingly central to the real-time conversations happening on Twitter – video Tweets on Twitter have increased by over 50% since the beginning of 2016. And we love watching all the timely, important, and funny video content people share every day.”

Twitter announces anyone can apply for a verified account

The final big change on the cards centres on the big blue tick. Rules around verified Twitter accounts – once reserved for VIPs, government bodies, journalists and other high profile users – are changing.

Verified accounts on Twitter allow people to identify key individuals and organisations on Twitter as authentic. They are denoted by a blue badge icon. An account may be verified if it is determined to be of public interest.

Twitter previously decided which accounts to verify, but a new online application process means that anyone can now apply. The new system requires people to submit a request using a special site. The form asks people to make sure their account satisfies Twitter’s requirements, and asks for further information like scans of ID cards. Anyone who is unsuccessful can apply again in 30 days.

Tina Bhatnagar, from Twitter’s user services, said: “Our goal with this update is to help more people find great, high-quality accounts to follow, and for creators and influencers – no matter where they are in the world – to easily connect with a broader audience.”

Expert support for your social media campaigns is available from the Pelicomms social and digital marketing team.

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