Twitter makes @name tweets public and drops multimedia from 140-character count

Twitter has confirmed that it will drop multimedia from its 140-character word count and has announced it will make some direct tweets more public.

This will scrap the awkward ".@name" convention that has evolved from users tweeting each other publicly. Usually, tweeting someone without putting a full stop before their username means that tweet is private.

Now tweets that begin with "@name" will be public to all followers, which will have implications for brands using Twitter for individual customer service.

A spokesman for Twitter clarified that users will only see the first @reply, and not the entire conversation thread.

As previously reported, Twitter will also stop counting @handles, photos, Gifs, videos, polls or quoted tweets as part of its 140-character count. Multimedia takes up 23 characters out of the limit, meaning users and brands are often squeezed to get their message across.

Other updates include the ability for users to retweet and quote their own tweets if they feel "a really good one went unnoticed". Previously, users were only able to retweet and quote others’ updates.

Announcing the changes in a blog post, Twitter was keen to stave off criticism that it was losing its original purpose as a short message sharing platform.

"We’re exploring ways to make existing uses easier and enable new ones, all without compromising the unique brevity and speed that make Twitter the best place for live commentary, connections, and conversations," the company said.

The changes will roll out "in the coming months" for users and developers.

This article originally appeared on PRWeek sister title Campaign

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