Twitter Is Making Changes to Allow Longer Tweets

A man reads tweets on his phone in front of a displayed Twitter logo in Bordeaux, southwestern France
A man reads tweets on his phone in front of a displayed Twitter logo in Bordeaux, southwestern France, March 10, 2016. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/Illustration/File PhotoREUTERS

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By Lucy Bayly

Twitter has eliminated media attachments from the character count in its tweets, and axed usernames from the count in its tweet replies, the microblogging service announced Tuesday.

“No more penny-pinching your words,” wrote Todd Sherman, senior product manager at Twitter, in a blog post revealing the revamp of the original 140-character count — itself a holdover from the old 160-character SMS phone message format.

Extolling the “rich canvas” that Twitter has become, Sherman said the goal was to “simplify tweets” and “make having conversations on Twitter easier and more straightforward.”

Also nixed from the word count: attachments such as photos, videos, or polls; and the convention that required a user to add a period before the user name in order to display new tweets to all followers on that thread.

There will also be a “retweet” button on user’s own tweets, “so you can easily retweet yourself when you want to share a new reflection or feel like a really good one went unnoticed,” wrote Sherman.

">Read More: Why Twitter May Have to Get Over Not Being Another Facebook

With an active — yet stagnant — monthly user base of 320 million, Twitter is well outranked by other social media platforms, including Facebook (1.6 billion) and even Instagram (400 million). Ten years after its launch, Twitter has accrued a staggering $2 billion in losses and its shares are down 60 percent year to date.

Users and investors alike are still waiting to see how CEO Jack Dorsey can evolve the platform and make it profitable. CNBC reported that just prior to Twitter’s announcement today, analysts at MoffettNathanson downgraded the stock to “sell,” saying "the small likelihood of a meaningful payoff doesn't justify owning the stock here.”