Twitter is finally making it possible for users to send links, quote others, share GIFs and do much more without it counting against the 140-character tweet limit. The change, which went into effect on Monday, is the latest in a series of major new initiatives rolled out over the past month by the company.
By altering the character limit, Twitter is making it easier for users to share more content in their tweets. Previously, sharing rich media, such as photos, videos and polls, counted against users' character limits, forcing them to send multiple tweets or limit what they had to say. This could be especially frustrating when users replied to each other in group threads, as their user handles counted against the limit.
Twitter recognized these frustrations and softened the 140-character limit as a way to encourage users to post more as well as make it easier on new users to learn how to use the service -- while still maintaining the essence of the constraint that makes Twitter what it is. "You can already do a lot in a Tweet, but we want you to be able to do even more," Twitter said back in May, when the company first announced the alteration to the character limit.
This change could not come soon enough. The company has been in dire need of reigniting user growth, which has been plateaued over the past two years, stuck around 300 million active users. The frustration with growth led to one shareholder filing a lawsuit against Twitter on Friday, alleging that the San Francisco tech company misled investors in late 2014 during the roadshow leading up to its initial public offering. At the time, Twitter said it would top 550 million active users in the intermediate term and more than a billion users in the long run, the lawsuit claims according to a report by Bloomberg. Additionally, there's been talk by Twitter's board of directors to perhaps sell the company.
With co-founder Jack Dorsey now nearly one year into his tenure back as CEO, the company has begun rolling out several major initiatives intended to help bring more users--and by virtue, revenue growth--to the service. Last week, Twitter broadcast its first NFL live stream, bringing in an audience of 243,000 viewers. The company closed August by announcing the expansion of a creator revenue program, which pays users who publish original videos on the social network.
These announces are all part of a five-point plan unveiled by Dorsey earlier this year that includes iterating on the company's main product, expanding on live streaming, doing more to cater to creators, reducing the abuse and harassment on the service and doing more to support third-party developers.
One year in, Dorsey has had the time to work on his major initiatives and they are finally beginning to roll out. Now it's a matter of seeing what, if anything, will work.