How will Twitter's changes affect you?It has been ten years since Twitter first took to the stage and changed the digital landscape. Now, through newly released updates and changes, it is looking as though the ground is shifting beneath our feet again.

Like the panic that ensued after the announcement of Instagram’s new algorithm, marketer’s often have the habit of approaching change with reluctance. There is always a slight fearfulness that this new upheaval may complicate the delicate balance you have struck across your various platforms and sabotage your social outreach. Of course, change can be scary, but change also means innovation and improvement.

Twitter’s newest changes seem small, but like everything this social giant does, they are important. But just how will they affect your brand?

Retweet yourself

The change: Users will be able to retweet their own tweets and add additional comments or information through the quote retweet function.

What it means for your business: This change is a great move for content marketers. Anyone who has ever composed the perfect tweet at an inopportune time knows the annoyance of when content does not get the engagement it deserves. The new retweet option allows users to draw attention to their content by resurfacing older content. While this eliminates some of the pressure of having to constantly generate new copy, it also means those unjustly unloved pieces can have a second chance at exposure.

The quote retweet function also provides an interesting element, as by granting the ability to add a comment or thought you are able to rekindle conversations or continue the debate. You can pose new questions, change your answers or simply reshare information or products.

Character limits and media attachments

The change: While the character length itself is not changing (yet), what constitutes the tweet is. Media such as photos, GIFs and polls will now no longer take up space in your character count. It is worth noting that this only applies to tweets made within the site; Instagram posts shared through Twitter will remain the same.

While there were rumours circulating that links would also be included in this character cop out (links currently take up 23 characters after it has been automatically shortened) this remains unconfirmed.

What it means for your business: Most Twitter users can relate to the moment you complete what you think will be a successful tweet, you attach the equally impressive image and… you have -3 characters. Given that studies have shown that tweets with photos attached see a 150 % increase in retweets, having to sacrifice your image for your content is frustrating to say the least. But often it was your only option, dat is unlez u wanna talk lik dis.

Jack Dorsey, CEO and co-founder of Twitter, described the limit as a “beautiful constraint” that “inspires creativity and brevity,” therefore the 140 character limit itself will not change – and rightfully so, when Twitter announced that they were considering upping the limit to 10,000 their stocks fell by 2% – but with the new changes, brands can concentrate on what matters: their content.


The change: When a user replies to another user, their username will no longer be counted in the limit.

Twitter is attempting to simplify rules around tweets that start with a @username. Currently, if you want to broadcast a tweet to all of your followers that starts with a @username, you would have to include a period before the username (.@), otherwise only people who follow both your account and the account you are tweeting can see. With the new changes, tweets that begin with a username will be broadcasted to all of your followers.

What this means for your business: Conversations will become easier as there will be “no more penny-pinching your words to ensure they reach the whole group,” explains Todd Sherman, Twitter senior product manager.

This is great news if you use Twitter for customer service, as this function will allow you to address groups of people using a single tweet without having to sacrifice its quality (or legibility). It is clearer, concise and exactly what consumers are looking for. Equally, if you do not want to share the tweet with everyone, simply add a character or word before the @username and it will be shared as it would have done previously.

Rather than penalising or complicating Twitter for brands and individual users alike, the social media juggernaut is trying to streamline and simplify their platform “all without compromising the unique brevity and speed that make Twitter the best place for live commentary, connections, and conversations,” Todd Sherman continues. See we told you, change can be fun!

While the true extent and implication of the changes will not be known until they are implemented, what is clear is that stagnancy is death in the social media world – so you had better keep up. If you have any queries concerning your social media strategy, contact us today.