Putting the 'twit' in Twitter? Will changes flood your feed with unwanted messages?


Over the decade since it launched, Twitter has evolved from simple 140 character text messages to incorporate photos, videos and more. It can also justifiably lay claim to introducing and popularizing the hashtag.

In an effort to keep the service up to date the company is rolling out some changes in the coming months. While some of these are useful, others are set to prove unpopular, especially for those who follow business accounts.

First the good news, for the first time you'll be able to retweet and quote yourself, allowing you to draw attention to messages you think may have gone unnoticed, or add extra thoughts to a tweet. There are also changes to what counts as part of your 140 character limit.

Usernames in replies will no longer count, making having conversations easier with less risk of running out of words. Media attachments won't count either so you can add a photo, video or Quote Tweet without affecting your message length.

The less good news is that messages beginning with a username, @BetaNews for example, will now be seen by all your followers. In the past they would only be seen by the user referenced and any of your followers who also follow that user. To have a tweet starting with a username seen by all you would have to start it with [email protected] instead.

So, for example in the past if you wanted all your followers to see your tweet to the rail company complaining that your train was late you'd have to [email protected] the username. Now everyone will see it anyway.

You might think that if you follow a business this could be a pain. Often people communicate with a business on Twitter, probably to complain, and get a reply starting with their @username -- remember they can't DM you if you're not following them. You might be worried that this change would lead to your tweet stream getting flooded with reply messages that aren't relevant to you. However, Twitter is keen to point out that only new messages typed with an @username at the start will be affected, replies work the same as before.

More about the changes can be found on the Twitter blog. Let us know what you think their impact will be, are they positive or strictly for the birds?

Photo credit: Maryna Stamatova / Shutterstock

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