Twitter makes @replies public and drops multimedia from 140-character count

Twitter has confirmed that it will drop multimedia from its 140-character word count and has announced it will evolve the @reply to become public.

Twitter: evolving to become a multimedia service
Twitter: evolving to become a multimedia service

The company will scrap the awkward ".@name" convention that has evolved from users tweeting each other publicly. Usually, tweeting someone without putting a full stop before their username means that tweet is private.

Now tweets that begin with "@name" will be public to all followers, which may have implications for brands using Twitter for individual customer service.

A spokesman for Twitter clarified that users will only see the first @reply, and not the entire conversation thread.

As previously reported, Twitter will also stop counting @replies, photos, GIFs, videos, polls or quoted tweets as part of its 140-character count. Multimedia takes up 23 characters out of the limit, meaning users and brands are often squeezed to get their message across.

Other updates include the ability for users to retweet and quote their own tweets if they feel "a really good one went unnoticed". Previously, users were only able to retweet and quote others’ updates.

Announcing the changes in a blog post, Twitter was keen to stave off criticism that it was losing its original purpose as a short message sharing platform.

"We’re exploring ways to make existing uses easier and enable new ones, all without compromising the unique brevity and speed that make Twitter the best place for live commentary, connections, and conversations," the company said.

The changes will roll out "in the coming months" for users and developers.