Twitter’s Evolution and What It Means for Your Government Account

Jun 30, 2016

Twitter has come a long way. In ten years of evolution, we’ve seen Twitter go from a simple text messaging service to a versatile platform, which in the words of Twitter, provides a “rich canvas for creative expression featuring photos, videos, hashtags, Vines, and more.”

Now Twitter is offering additional enhancements to their service to make it easier to engage with customers and accomplish our mission.

A 3-D at symbol with the U.S. flag on the front.

So what do all these upcoming changes mean for your government account?

  • Media links (photos, GIFs, videos, polls, or Quote Tweets) will no longer count against your 140 character count, so more space to get your message across! As exciting as that is – don’t shut down your link-shortener account just yet. For the time being, URLs will still count against the 140 character limit.
  • Screen capture of an empty compose new tweet box with the media icons and character count circled in red.
  • @names will no longer count against the 140-character limit in replies. Plus, Twitter has increased the “@names” field to 50, up from 10, included in your reply without being counted in your character count. The upside is now you can talk directly to 50 people instead of just 10, the downside is the greater potential exposure to spam.
  • Screen capture of a compose new tweet box with a line of text that reads, Have a direct conversation with up to 50 at-names - Free.
  • When you start a new Tweet with an @name, you will no longer need to put a period in front of the “@” character to have the Tweet seen by all your followers.
  • Screen capture of a compose new tweet box that reads, period-at-name is now the same as at-name!
  • Replying to a tweet still means simply hitting the reply button. Your reply will still be visible to people who follow both you and the person you’re replying to.
  • A screen capture of a USCIC tweet with the reply icon circled in red
  • However, now you can make replies visible to all by retweeting yourself and quoting your own tweets. This is a great feature if you need to update a Tweet, provide additional information, or clarify something. In other words, less hassle and better looking Tweets.
  • A screen capture of a USCIC tweet with the re-tweet icon circled in red

    Twitter’s changes are geared toward streamlining their platform and making it more user-friendly. As communicators, these changes will simplify our efforts, save us time, and allow us more space to broadcast our message to the public we serve.