16 October 2016

Twitter has just made some pretty big changes for its 300+ million users.
As of now, we can officially create our own moments and the 140 character limit is looking very different.

We knew that changes to the character count were coming, but there was no date set for when this update would be released. Then on 19th September, it was announced.
With updates coming to our favourite social media platforms all the time, find out what you need to know about Twitter's new updates:
Now when you compose a tweet, @names in mentions, all media attachments (including polls), and quoted tweets will no longer be included in 140 characters.
The only thing that still counts is URLs that are pasted directly into a tweet.

The main reason behind it is so you can include more context within your tweets and conversations are easier to follow – without sacrificing images or GIFS and so on.

On their blog, Twitter shared exactly what has changed, so I’ll run through the updates with you 
  • Media attachments: Whereas images, videos, polls and GIFs used to take up around 20 characters each, these will now not count towards the character limit.
  • Quoting tweets: I’m sure you’ve noticed how you can now retweet yourself, and if you want to carry on a conversation, you can also retweet yourself without using up any characters.
  • Replies: Two things have changed here. The first is that when you’re replying to a tweet, names won’t count towards the character limit. The second is that when you do reply to someone you won’t need to put .@ - with the new updates, all your replies are shown to your followers. If you want to put extra emphasis on a mention, you can retweet it.
What this all basically means is that you’ve got the whole 140 characters to play around with when it comes to the words of your tweet.

So here’s how you can make the most of these great new Twitter updates:

Have more detailed conversations
As we said before, the main aim of this update is to encourage more conversation, which is exactly why usernames aren’t included in replies anymore. You’ll now have plenty of room to say everything you want and more.

For example, when you thank someone for sharing your latest blog post, you can ask them how their week is going, or what they loved the most about the post they shared and so on. Plus, you can also add a GIF to share your thanks too!

We all love Instagram, Pinterest and Snapchat, but one of the reasons Twitter is so great is because it’s all about connecting with others. These updates really make the most of that by giving us the whole 140 characters to express ourselves.

Use visuals all the time
Sometimes when I’m composing Twitter updates to be scheduled, it can be so annoying to find that adding an image just takes you a few characters over the limit. There’s no fear of that happening now. 

A great fact I always share in my social media posts is that if you include an image with a tweet, it’s got a 150% more chance of being shared. That’s a HUGE stat!

With this new update, you get the best of both worlds – you can make the most of your content, and still include media to give your tweet that extra slice of magic. You could start to include behind-the-scenes of your products, quick tutorials, screenshots – anything to make your content more interesting for your followers.

Invite others to join in your conversation
Did you used to get confused with the whole ‘.’ before the @? Me too.
Thankfully, this new update means we can ignore this completely. 

You used to have to add a ‘.’ before a username if you wanted all your followers to see your reply. Now, you don’t. I think this is great – a lot of people say they don’t ‘get’ Twitter, but I think this will break down a big usability barrier.

Quote yourself
This is such a great tactic. Lots of people have more to share than they can fit into 140 characters, so they’d put something like (1/2) on the end of a tweet – signalling there were two tweets with their reply.

Since Twitter introduced the quote option, you can now share two tweets that are part of the same conversation. This means users won’t have to scroll to find the start of your first tweet – it can all be included in one, so essentially double the characters!

It’s easily done. Just write your first tweet, retweet yourself as a quote and write the rest of your message above.

So that’s it for the character limit – so what about moments?

Twitter Moments
For those of you who don’t know, Twitter Moments (which were only released about a year ago) are loads of tweets put together in one series, almost like a slideshow. They were introduced to help users keep up to date with everything happening around the world, from news stories, to trending topics. So instead of just following bits and pieces from your own feed, you could see everything in a Twitter Moment.

This video from Twitter explains it in more detail.

It was first rolled out to a certain number of influencers who curated stories on News, Sports and Entertainment. Now, it’s been rolled out to all users, almost like a new, dynamic way of telling a story.

Let’s say you follow loads of people who share motivational messages. One morning, you could create your own Twitter Moment to motivate your followers that includes lots of different motivational tweets. 

You could also use it to do a round-up of what’s appeared on your blog this past week, or even use it as a round-up of your favourite posts from other blogs too and based it around a certain theme. One thing they do say is that it’s best to make it no more than ten tweets long.

It’s so easy to create your own too:
  • Sign into your Twitter profile and click on the Moments tab (I think you can only do this from your desktop at the moment). 
  • Click ‘create new moment’ which should be on the right hand side.
  • You can then add a title, description and cover to your Moment.
  • Then all that’s left to do is pull in all your various tweets and hit publish! You can pick tweets from ones you’ve favourited, from specific accounts, through a search or add them directly using the tweet’s link.
Now as far as we know, if you include someone else’s tweet in your Moment, it doesn’t send them a notification. But hopefully Twitter will pick up on this and roll out some more updates soon.

Overall, it’s a really exciting time for Twitter right now. I can’t wait to see these updates rolled out to all users and see how people start making the most of Moments and the new 140 character limit.

We'd love to know...
How will these changes affect the way you use Twitter?
What are you most excited about?
Will you experience with Moments?
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Written by Holly Sutton
for Daily Focal

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