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Twitter extends character limit but no news on Beyond 140

Twitter, the micro-blogging site with more than 300 million users globally, has announced some important changes to the character limit of its tweets.

However, the company stopped short of confirming the roll out of its Beyond 140 initiative, which has been widely-anticipated since the story first broke back in January.

Yesterday’s announcement via a post on Twitter’s official company blog detailed character limit changes to be introduced over the coming months, but no news on a long-form publishing option, which the Twitter is thought to be working on.

Currently the 140 character limit for tweets includes @mentions as well as 24 characters for any media attached. Once the changes have taken effect, neither of these will be included in the character count.

Other updates include enabling a new ‘retweet’ function, which will allow users to post their own tweets repeatedly, and removing the ‘@’ convention to avoid confusion between a post being seen publicly or privately. The inclusion of links in the character count will not change however, so 24 characters will still be deducted for any link posted in a tweet.

twitter pic via techcrunch

Twitter indicated that the changes were aimed at simplifying tweets and allowing for more seamless, speedy live communication and commentary.

“One of the biggest priorities for this year is to refine our product and make it simpler,” said Jack Dorsey, Twitter’s CEO. “We’re focused on making Twitter a whole lot easier and faster. This is what Twitter is great at – what’s happening now, live conversation and the simplicity that we started the service with.”

Although Twitter indicated at the end of its blog post that it is still exploring other ways to get more from tweets and enhance the user experience, nothing was mentioned about Beyond 140.

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What is Beyond 140 and is it still on its way?

Beyond 140 was first brought to light earlier this year, amid much controversy over whether there would be any changes to the standard character limit for tweets.

Although Dorsey had consistently maintained that the character limit would not change, he did seem to be in favour of offering users the option of long-form publishing.

The initiative would not directly affect the length of tweets but would allow users to link to longer form posts within the Twitter environment, similar to the ‘Publishing’ tool provided by LinkedIn or Facebook’s Instant Articles.

Currently, Twitter users are able to link to external sites, but if Beyond 140 was introduced they would have the option of hosting long-form content on Twitter and pointing their followers to that.

Twitter, acting as not just a publisher but a promoter of your content could open up possibilities for more engagement and widen audiences for users. It would certainly lead to new advertising products.

As it is unclear whether Beyond 140 will become a reality anytime soon, for now users can enjoy the relaxed character limit guidelines for their regular tweets, and keep an eye out for any further updates.

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