Twitter has a lot of issues, to the extent that the future of Twitter as a service is in jeopardy if certain things aren’t fixed. Namely, the way Twitter handles harassment usually means that you need to have a certain level of fame outside of social media in order to get help, and even then there’s no guarantee anything will happen. In Twitter’s defense, though, it has shown in the past that it’s willing to make changes, even if the changes often seem arbitrary or are actively hated by most users. Now, Twitter has unleashed its latest big change, and though it won’t do anything to curb harassment (of course), there’s a good chance everybody won’t instantly hate it.
This new tweak is based around Twitter’s 140-character limit, which has now been altered so that photos, videos, GIFs, polls, and quoted tweets no longer count toward that number. The idea is that this will make Twitter easier to use, presumably because some people had a hard time understanding why a photo would count as words. But this TechCrunch story on the intricacies of the new feature makes it seem even more complicated than it was before.
For instance, links still count toward your 140 characters for some reason, and “@ replies” won’t show the username of the person you’re talking to. That means the old “.@” trick that would allow the other people who follow you to see what you’re saying to someone won’t work anymore, which Twitter says you can get around by simply retweeting yourself (which was also a new thing that it introduced recently). However, all of that only applies if you’re literally clicking the “reply” button, not if you’re physically typing out “@username” in your tweet, because that way it’s not technically a reply.
Those details will really only apply to serious power users, though. For most people, the important part of this is the new way Twitter counts your 140 characters, as illustrated in the randomly selected tweet below:
This is a tweet that uses all 140 characters and also includes a GIF of Batman, which you can see below this tweet that uses 140 characters. pic.twitter.com/CddPEwjzmi
— Guaranteed Rate Sam (@SamBarsanti) September 19, 2016