Newspaper article International New York Times

Twitter Makes Room for Longer Messages

Newspaper article International New York Times

Twitter Makes Room for Longer Messages

Article excerpt

Users will be able to post longer tweets with more interactive content without running afoul of the 140-character limit.

Today, this article's 140-character first paragraph forms the entirety of a Twitter post. But this will not be the case for too much longer.

Twitter said on Tuesday that it planned to introduce a series of changes in the coming months to make it easier for people to communicate with one another on the social media service. In particular, the modifications will loosen the 140-character limit of a Twitter post, a restriction that has at times stumped and infuriated people but that has come to define the tweet as an economical and idiosyncratic form of communication.

Under the rule-bending, tagging users by their handles at the beginning of replies and adding photos, GIFs and videos will no longer count against the 140-character limit in tweets, Twitter said. This will enable users to post longer messages with more interactive content without running afoul of the character restriction.

"This is something that has been requested from people using Twitter for quite some time," Jack Dorsey, the chief executive of Twitter, said in an interview. When people try to cram their thoughts into a 140-character tweet, "then you're just thinking a lot about Twitter instead of what you're saying. We shouldn't make you think about Twitter."

The adjustments amount to the biggest makeover to the form of a tweet in years. Twitter began last decade as a type of short messaging -- the number of characters in a post curbed to just 140 in order to fit an SMS message. Over the years, Twitter has introduced some small refinements to how its product looks and feels, like adding a direct-messages button on the mobile home screen and changing the Twitter "favorite" button to a heart-shaped "like" button.

But Twitter, which is based in San Francisco, has been skittish about making major changes to the service, seemingly paralyzed at the thought of scaring off any members of its loyal fan base. …

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