Twitter is making sure its users get their money’s worth — or their full allotted 140-character count, that is.
In the coming months, Twitter will introduce a number of updates that are designed to simplify the process and, in some cases, allow more room for words.
For example, when users add attachments (photos, GIFs, videos, polls or quote other Tweets), those will not count toward the 140-character count. And when a user replies to a Tweet, which automatically includes the “@names” of those mentioned in the original Tweet, those names will also no longer count toward the 140 characters.
In addition, Twitter will begin allowing users to both Retweet and Quote themselves for, as senior product manager Todd Sherman said in a post sharing the news, “when you want to share a new reflection or feel like a really good one went unnoticed.”
And finally, Twitter is simplifying the process of Tweets that begin with a username. A user can still share a message directly with another account by beginning a Tweet with that username, but if the user wants that Tweet to be seen by all followers, the user can simply Retweet their own Tweet. Translation? The “.@” convention, when a user added a period before a username, will disappear.
These changes are consistent with Twitter chief executive Jack Dorsey’s mission to make Twitter easier to use as he struggles to attract new users.
“One of the biggest priorities for this year is to refine our product and make it simpler,” said Dorsey, emphasizing that Twitter was good at being “in the moment.” “That concept of brevity, speed and live conversation — being able to think of something and put it out to the world instantly — that’s what’s most important.”
It’s also important, ostensibly, to stay in business.
In February, Twitter reported that its monthly active usage stayed at 320 million in the fourth quarter — on par with third-quarter usage — and that for the full year, it had net losses of $521 million on sales of $2.22 billion. Still, as the micro-blogging platform focused on attracting advertisers, revenue increased 48 percent.
Twitter has recently made updates to its Timeline so that when a user opens Twitter, they are first shown the Tweets that they are most likely to want to see. Twitter shared that less than two percent of users opted out of this feature. It also is working to help new users find new accounts, and reports that “follows” are up 48 percent and mutual follows, when two people follow each other, are up 56 percent.
In its earnings report, the company stated that although Twitter has been considered a “second screen” for current events, the company was working to become the first screen. “By doing so, we believe we can build the planet’s largest daily connected audience.”