Since the return of founder Jack Dorsey as CEO in 2015, Twitter has reclaimed its engineering roots.
Not surprisingly, platform change has been afoot.
Over the past couple of months, Twitter has:
- added the feature ‘poll your community’ – a nifty little tool enabling you to write a research poll (from the comfort of your twitter app) and send it out into the Twitterverse for feedback – something this user has done on several occasions with variant degrees of success.
- Introduced .GIF search courtesy of partners at GIPHY and Riffsy
- integrated Periscope into tweets so that you can enjoy live broadcasts.
In the coming months, more changes are rolling out all thanks to the fact, Twitter have redefined the 140 characters limit.
A little history here might be helpful…
The 140 character limit of tweets exists, because in 2006 when Biz, Jack & Co. were building the platform, SMS messages were limited to 140 characters.
It was a known standard.
Throughout the last decade the 140 standard has been exactly that – an acceptable and much loved limit to engaging on Twitter.
As an avid user of the platform for the past six years, both personally and professionally, I’ve always found Twitter as a great way to #connect, #Engage and #Participate with community members.
Professionally, I’ve been an avid user of Twitter to mentor both my undergrad and postgrad students.
It was a great way to maintain a dialogue with keen students throughout the semester while avoiding the essay-esque emails of panic around assessment and exam time.
It was a great way of teaching media and communications students how to edit and sub-edit without losing impact and intent.
It was a great research tool, news gathering tool – it was a great tool for educating communications student how to, research, engage and communicate with community.
Here’s what will and will not be considered a character in a tweet:
- @ – twitterhandles will not be counted as characters. This is great news if your twitter handle is loooooong, now people might start tweeting you 🙂
- Media attachments (URLs, photos, GIFs, polls) will not take up valuable character spacing, so you now have more room to say what you want to say.
- the .@ convention has gone – THANK GOODNESS! This convention was just plain ugly! Instead, the power of the Retweet returns for both you and your community members. If you start a tweet with a @username then your tweet will be broadcast to all your followers.
- RT – and if you want to broadcast a tweet more broadly, then you now are able to retweet your own tweets.