Twitter are testing something and I think it could be controversial
In May of 2016, Twitter announced measures that would allow us to extend the character allowance from 140. Many of the announced changes have been rolled out already, most recently we saw the inclusion of media in tweets not taking up any of our character allowance.
This weekend I started to notice another of the changes, it’s only being tested on some iOS users at the moment and although I had it over the weekend it’s disappeared again.
What I saw was an idea of how Twitter will allow us to reply to users without including their Twitter handle as part of the character count.
Watch below to hear my initial reaction to the new character count:
What does the new feature look like?
It only kicked in when I was replying directly to a tweet, not when I was starting a conversation. When I hit the reply button the username of the person I was replying to didn’t appear in the tweet. Instead, I got a blank tweet with my full 140 characters intact.
I could still see I was replying and who I was replying to. Their name appeared in small grey text above the tweet.
But it’s when I wanted to reply to more than one person that the possible problems became apparent.
Again I was presented with a blank tweet, 140 characters. But this time above it I could see the name of the person I was replying to directly + ‘Others’. If I want to remove the ‘others’ from the reply I needed to click on that and de-select them one by one.
I can’t imagine many Twitter users will do this, or even be aware they are replying to so many, this could see a massive upsurge in non-relevant notifications for all users. This, in turn, could be bad for Twitter, if we see irrelevant notifications will we stop clicking the notifications tab altogether? Will this stifle conversation?
I can see why Twitter are being cautious rolling out this update. It’s a positive way to extend the character count whilst still keeping our messages short. It makes sense to take the @reply out of the tweet window to facilitate this but I do think they need to be mindful of how the changes could affect the way we use and respond to conversations on Twitter.
Have you seen the update yet? What do you think? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below.