Longer tweets have finally arrived. The changes Twitter announced to its character limit earlier this year are now starting to roll out to users. The update means that photos, GIFs, polls, videos and quoted tweets will no longer count toward your 140-character limit. While the longstanding 140-character limit is not changing, media attachments and quoted tweets will no longer count toward your limit, so tweets containing these items can now be longer.
The company also plans to add similar functionality to replies — so that user handles will no longer count toward character limits either — but this feature is still in a “testing” phase, Twitter says. The company didn’t say when it might move out of a testing phase, but it offered a preview of what the feature will look like for replies.
The updates come after more than a year of rumors of Twitter’s plans to expand beyond its iconic 140-character limit tweets. Reports last fall suggested the service was working on a way to allow users to publish longform content. A separate report earlier this year suggested that update would expand Twitter’s character count to 10,000 — a rumor that CEO Jack Dorsey himself appeared to confirm.
But if Twitter still has plans for these changes, Monday’s update is a significantly smaller step toward such an update. While the changes will help Twitter users cram a bit more into their tweets, it shouldn’t make tweets too much longer. Photos, for example, used to take up 24 additional characters. So while that’s enough for an extra word or two, it won’t have that big an impact on how much you can actually say.
As usual, Twitter users are already having mixed reactions to the news. With what has become a sort of long-running joke whenever Twitter makes a significant change, many users are pointedly asking why the service won’t just make an edit button already.