It’s Official: Twitter Won’t Count Usernames & Photos Against 140-Character Limit

Image courtesy of Tom Raftery

Twitter isn’t ready to ditch its long-standing 140-character limit, but it is officially ready to revamp what counts against that boundary. To that end, photos, usernames, quoted Tweets, and other attachments will no longer count against the pre-Tweet allotment.

Twitter announced Tuesday that “in the coming months” it would allow users to express more on the site by simplifying what counts toward the character restriction.

“So for instance, @names in replies and media attachments — like photos, GIFs, videos, and polls — will no longer ‘use up’ valuable characters,” Todd Sherman, senior product manager for Twitter, said in a blog post.

Among the upcoming changes, Twitter will no longer count usernames against the limit when users are replying to other Tweets.

Additionally, media attachments, such as photos, GIFs, videos, polls, or Quote Tweets, will no longer count as characters.

“This will make having conversations on Twitter easier and more straightforward, no more penny-pinching your words to ensure they reach the whole group,” Sherman said.

The 140-character limit was first used by Twitter because that was the limit for a single mobile text message. Tweeting by text was popular back in the pre-smartphone era of 2006, when the social media company first launched.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey previously said the 140-character limit will live on because it’s “too iconic” to get rid of.

“It’s staying. It’s a good constraint for us,” he said in March. “It allows for of-the-moment brevity.”

In other revamps announced Tuesday, the company says it is simplifying some Tweeting activity to ensure it reaches a wider audience.

The company will enable users to Retweet their own messages and will allow users to begin Tweets with usernames without the “.@“ first in order to broadcast the message widely.

Currently, Tweets that begin with a username are only visible to users who follow both the person Tweeting and the person receiving the message.

In addition to the changes outlined above, Twitter says it plans to help users get more out of their Tweeting experience.

“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,” Sherman said.