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Twitter stops counting usernames against 140 character limit for tweet replies

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Twitter wants to make it even easier for you to communicate with friends and followers. So from today, it will no longer count usernames as part of the 140 character limit when you’re replying to tweets from a friend or a group. This change will be applied to not only Twitter’s mobile apps, but also to TweetDeck.

What this means is that when you reply to a tweet, usernames will no longer appear at the beginning. Instead, Twitter will display them above the tweet text. Tapping on the “Reply to” space will show you who’s part of the conversation, and you can make modifications to who receives the tweet there.

As an example of the new limits: If I receive a tweet from my colleague Jordan Novet saying, “How are you doing @thekenyeung?” and reply, traditionally the “@jordannovet” part would count against the 140 characters. But now, Jordan’s username is removed from the limit. However, if I reply with “Good, @harrisonweber and I are hanging out,” Harrison’s username will still count.

In addition to expanding your available characters, Twitter believes that it’ll be easier to follow conversations when you’re no longer distracted by repetitive usernames. The company shared that these updates are based on feedback it has received. “In our tests of this new experience, we found that people engage more with conversations on Twitter,” wrote product manager Sasank Reddy.

For nearly a year, Twitter has been working to make conversing easier, with updates that included eliminating photos and links from its character limit. It also did away with the 140 character limit for direct messages. There was even talk about eliminating the “.@” convention from tweets. The goal: Stop “penny-pinching” words in a tweet. Ease up on trying to limit how people can converse.

Eliminating usernames from the character limit when replying is just the most recent example of this effort. Twitter has been working to not only reform its image and demonstrate that it’s an invaluable tool, but also to prove that you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to use its service. While these steps will be welcomed by power users, they also represent an attempt to reduce the rules new users have to remember.

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