Twitter is really attempting to make the most of its 140 character limit. Several iOS users appear to be part of a new test group, where Twitter usernames are no longer counting against the 140 characters you must constrain yourself to, while replying to other users. This feature is actually very handy, and could make conversations and discussions much more fun.
So, if you are a regular Twitter user, you must be familiar with all the various hoops you must jump through in order to make the puny 140 character limit count. The situation is complicated even further when you are replying to someone and that someone has a long name like onepunchmansfan. Twitter usernames can be up to 15 characters long and when you are replying to someone, their username is counted against the character limit — literally limiting your power of expression.
This situation is further complicated when you try to hold a discussion and there are a lot of people replying to a lot of other people. Indeed, Twitter Canoe is a situation that occurs when there are more and more people replying to a single thread — and mentioning all of the previous participants — resulting in a situation when the next person to reply finds that there are no more characters left to frame a meaningful answer.
Twitter has finally come to realize that this could pose a problem and appears to be on the verge of fixing it by removing Twitter usernames from being counted against the character limit. From what we have seen from the test groups, replies start with an empty text box that has a “In reply to John Cena and others” in a diminutive text box — somewhat similar to text messages.
The company had hinted at the feature a few months ago.
When this change launches to the public, people’s usernames will no longer be automatically included in Tweet text and they will no longer count towards a Tweet’s 140 characters.
The feature is part of Twitter’s #Beyond140 updates, which were announced a few months ago and which saw the social media platform announce that it was working upon increasing the capabilities of tweets, beyond the 140 characters. Since then, images and other media have stopped counting against the limit. This new feature, is probably part of the same drive.
People have often argued against the 140-character limit, stating that it limits creativity and asking Twitter to remove the constraint. However, Twitter says that it is part of what makes the platform so unique. The company is instead boosting what you can do within the 140-characters by removing all extras that eat up space. While old-timers may be sad to see the “@” symbol go, by stopping Twitter usernames from counting against the 140-character quota, Twitter would probably be doing everyone a favor.
Meanwhile, it the feature is still limited to the test groups and Twitter usernames are still counting against the 140-character limit. We will keep you updated, when and if this feature launches for the general public. Until then, try to keep a cap on all those “@”s.