May 24, 2016


Did Twitter Just Ruin Itself With Its New Set of Updates?

Bethany Clarke/Getty Images
Bethany Clarke/Getty Images

On Tuesday, May 24, Twitter outlined a series of new changes to its decade-old service and...look, everybody loves to complain whenever beloved platforms get tweaked ever so slightly, but seriously, these tweaks kind of suck.

Let’s start with the positive: Twitter is making it slightly easier to cram 140 characters into a tweet by eliminating space-taking constrictions. “When replying to a Tweet, @names will no longer count toward the 140-character count,” Todd Sherman, senior product manager, writes in a memo.

Furthermore, “When you add attachments like photos, GIFs, videos, polls, or Quote Tweets, that media will no longer count as characters within your Tweet. More room for words!” Cool: More room for words. But at what cost?

The next, potentially ghastly change is the ability to retweet yourself, or quote your own tweets so that your preening won’t look quite as pronounced. “We’ll be enabling the Retweet button on your own Tweets, so you can easily Retweet or Quote Tweet yourself when you want to share a new reflection or feel like a really good one went unnoticed,” writes Sherman. Expect a lot of “really good” tweets that “went unnoticed” to actually be “really bad” tweets that “get drudged up again.”

Finally, and perhaps most harrowingly, you can’t really talk to anyone directly on Twitter anymore without having your conversation on display to everyone. “New Tweets that begin with a username will reach all your followers,” Sherman writes. For those of us who enjoyed conversing on Twitter and didn’t mind applying the “.@“ when necessary, this is a tough blow.

Thankfully, these updates are not effective immediately, and will be rolled out “over the coming months.” Expect a chorus of groans when you start seeing people retweeting themselves into oblivion, and, perhaps, some general moving-on from Twitter. Think we’re overstating this as a doomsday? Check out Twitter’s latest stock outlook to see why we’re not the only pessimists.