By now you’ve heard that you will soon be able to include multimedia—including photos, videos, GIFs, polls, and Quote Tweets—in a Tweet without it counting towards Twitter’s 140-character limit.
But for social media practitioners, that may not be the most significant change Twitter announced.
Also included their Tuesday, May 24 announcement, Twitter revealed a significant change to the platform: now Tweets that begin with an @name will be broadcast to all followers.
Previously these messages were relegated to the ‘Tweets & replies’ tab and would only show up to the users mentioned. The change means no more .@names workarounds in order to start a Tweet with a username but still send it out to a larger audience.
But that’s not all it means.
Say goodbye to brand spam
Plenty of brands have taken advantage of the relative obscurity of the ‘Tweets & replies’ tab in order to tag relevant (and sometimes not-so-relevant) users at the beginning of a message to draw eyeballs to their account (usually in the hopes of prompting users to hit the ‘Follow’ button).
Now, brands that have been using the @names mention tactic to call attention to themselves or grow their following will be exposed to all of their followers.
Once the update goes into effect, if brands were to use the same tactic, the Tweets would flood their main feed, create a Tweetstorm, clutter followers’ feeds, and likely prompt numerous unfollows.
So long spammy behavior!
Other big changes
The @name change fits in well with Twitter’s stated intent to make the platform easier for new users to join and enjoy. Eliminating the need for confusing and insidery workarounds certainly works towards this goal.
Of course, this wasn’t the only change that Twitter announced.
Soon, @names used in a reply will no longer count towards a user’s 140 characters, a change intended to facilitate the free-flow of conversation.
Todd Sherman, Twitter senior product manager, explained: “This will make having conversations on Twitter easier and more straightforward, no more penny-pinching your words to ensure they reach the whole group.”
It remains to be seen whether this will improve the Twitter canoe—a conversation that has picked up too many usernames for an actual conversation to take place—or send it careening down whitewater rapids.
And Twitter will also allow users to Retweet and Quote Tweet themselves, making it easier to resurface older messages or share new reflections.
Twitter says these new updates will be available over the coming months.