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At Last, Twitter’s Character Limit Will No Longer Include Links, Photos, or Usernames

About five months ago, Twitter announced their plan to roll out some changes to the character limit and the reply structure. Today, at long last, the character limit changes have begun to roll out–for some users. Not everybody, yet. But it’s coming. For real this time.

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Don’t worry–this isn’t that rumored change that would implement 10,000 character-limit tweets, which would have removed the only aspect of Twitter that allows it to stand out from the social media pack. This new change to the character limit is a lot more subtle. You’ll still only have 140 characters, but now, the text of a link–including embedded gifs and photos and videos–won’t get counted towards your final character count. You’ll be able to include a couple of links and a photo and then still have 140 characters left over to describe what you’re showing off.

Unfortunately, the new character limit also means that Twitter usernames won’t count towards the character limit either, which sounds good in theory, but might result in some very unwieldy and lengthy reply chains. However, Twitter’s group messaging feature for direct messages has gotten a lot more popular since it first got rolled out to users last February, so maybe now people have gotten into the habit of taking a group tweet into DMs (where there’s no character limit) rather than clog up everybody’s timelines with a bulk convo. When this change first got announced last May, the group-messaging feature was still new, so I was a little more concerned about this, but now it doesn’t seem like it’s going to have that much of a negative effect.

The Verge takes Twitter to task for having “dragged its feet” on rolling out this update, and that’s fair, since the company announced the impending change almost five months ago. Usually they don’t take this long to implement changes after they’ve been announced. However, I’m personally pleased that Twitter instead chose to expedite the release of the “quality filter” for non-verified users, since that seemed like a more important change to me. On the other hand, I haven’t personally noticed any change whatsoever in my own notifications column since the “quality filter” came out, so … it’s not as though Twitter can’t still stand to improve more.

Having enough space to write a full description of a link or a photo sounds nice, though, so I’ll take it.

(via The Verge)

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Maddy Myers
Maddy Myers, journalist and arts critic, has written for the Boston Phoenix, Paste Magazine, MIT Technology Review, and tons more. She is a host on a videogame podcast called Isometric (, and she plays the keytar in a band called the Robot Knights (

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