Twitter users will soon be able to expand the content of their tweets in four key ways, though the popular social media platform will retain its 140-character limit, the San Francisco-based company announced today.

Among other changes, @names placed at the beginning of a reply, or media such as photos, GIFs, videos, or polls embedded at the end, will no longer be included in a tweet’s 140-character count, the company said.

To accommodate these changes, the company explained in a May 24 blog post that each tweet will be divided into three regions:

  • A hidden prefix region which can accommodate one or more space-separated @mentions, and will be rendered not as part of the tweet’s display text, but as metadata;
  • The display text region, which remains 140 characters in length;
  • And a hidden suffix region which can include contain one (and only one) URL which is rendered as metadata rather than display text. Said URL must link to either an image, a GIF, a video, a poll, a quote tweet, or a direct message deep link.

So in practice, what does that mean for users?

Your tweets can be epic

Ever felt constrained by Twitter’s 140-character word limit, or strained your eyes trying to read an epic tale on the platform? Then the company’s new self-retweeting and self-quoting features are for you!

Instead of writing a series of tweets with numbers affixed to the end of them, simply quote or retweet yourself (neither of which count towards your 140-character count) until your social media short story (or novel) is finished.

Your captions don’t need to be cut short by images

A picture might be worth a thousand words, but that doesn’t mean one of your bon mots can’t augment it. With images no longer adding to your 140-character count, you can use all the space available to you to add the perfect punchline.

Wave goodbye to the .@

Tweets that begin with another username will now automatically reach everyone who follows the user sending them, thus eliminating the need for the current “.@” convention, which requires users to place a period before a username if they want a tweet seen by anyone other than viewers who follow both their account and the tagged user.

Tag dozens of users

And so long as the usernames at the beginning of a tweet are separated by a space, you can take as many as you like without making touching one of your 140 characters. Just don’t spam all of your followers at once.

Twitter hasn’t given a date for these changes, saying only in another blog post that they will be implemented “over the coming months”

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