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In a new development on Twitter, Usernames will no longer count toward the service’s 140-character limit. The change also means that replies will look a whole lot different than before.
Instead of beginning with usernames, tweet replies will contain only the text of the tweet itself and the handles you’re replying to will appear inline. Tweets will still be limited to 140 characters but usernames will no longer count toward that limit in replies.
While this means that Twitter will finally be rid of annoying tweets that begin with.@, it also means replies could get a lot more complicated. Though Twitter will surface the handles of everyone in a conversation separately from the text of the reply, this could get confusing rather quickly if you’re in a conversation with multiple participants.
Now, this is not the first time we’re hearing about this change. Twitter first previewed plans to loosen its 140-character limit and change the format for replies last May. The company has been testing variations of the feature since then, Twitter product manager Sasank Reddy writes, noting that early testing shows that people engage more with conversations on Twitter with the new format. Twitter users have been reporting seeing the new format for replies more and more in recent weeks, so maybe all this time really was just more testing.