Twitter Is Improving 4 Features to Make Tweeting Easier and More Efficient

Minor tweaks could make a big difference

Headshot of Marty Swant

Twitter is making a number of changes to how people tweet, adding several updates that users should welcome, especially to the most avid tweeters.

In a blog post today, Twitter said it is working to change the way the platform counts characters—letters, numbers, symbols or spaces—are counted toward a tweet's signature 140-limit.

"We're exploring ways to make existing uses easier and enable new ones, all without compromising the unique brevity and speed that make Twitter the best place for live commentary, connections, and conversations," Twitter senior project manager Todd Sherman wrote in a blog post.

Over the next few months, Twitter will begin rolling out the following:

1. No longer counting @names in replies

Usernames mentioned in tweets will no longer count toward the limit, saving users from spending their entire character count on mentions. Twitter says the improvement will make conversations "more straightforward" without all the "penny-pinching" that's needed for group tweets.

2.  Attachments won't count against characters

Everyone who has ever posted a photo, GIF, video, poll or quote tweet has likely been frustrated by losing 23 characters that are lopped off in the process. "More room for words!" Twitter said. The update was first reported last week by Bloomberg, but Twitter at the time declined comment.

3. Retweet and quote yourself

Users that want to add additional information or context to a previous tweet will soon be able to by retweeting their own tweet by using the retweet button.The feature will also allow users to retweet their own tweets that they feel are important and should be shared a second time.

4. Bye bye .@

Twitter is fixing the need to have a period before a username at the beginning of a tweet when a user wants a reply to be seen by everyone. Currently, putting someone's name at the very beginning of a tweet means it is seen only by the recipient and mutual friends. (Anyone who's been frustrated by how awkward the ".@" looks will be glad to see it go.) Under the new system, new tweets with a user name at the beginning will be seen by all followers, while replies to a user (by clicking the reply button) will still be seen only by that user and mutual friends. To have a reply seen by all followers, you'll have to retweet it. 

@martyswant Marty Swant is a former technology staff writer for Adweek.