Twitter usernames will no longer count against the 140-character limit in replies, the company said today, following months of testing in which users complained that the redesign was confusing. Expect them to complain about this design, too: if more than one person is mentioned in your reply, Twitter hides their name unless you mouse over a link, making replies harder to browse.
The goal of the redesign is to “let you express more with 140 characters,” Twitter said in a blog post. The move follows a change last year that excluded media attachments including photos, GIFs, and polls from being included in the character count.
Now when you reply to a tweet, the name of the person you’re replying to will appear above the tweet. If more than one person is part of the thread, you’ll see one username followed by “and 1 other,” “and 2 others,” and so on. “When reading a conversation, you’ll actually see what people are saying, rather than seeing lots of @usernames at the start of a tweet,” Twitter said.
Of course, seeing usernames often provides important context about the nature of the conversation. Burying it under a click seems as likely to confuse as it does to streamline the process, at least to me — and to Recode editor Dan Frommer, who spotted the new design Wednesday in the Twitter for Mac app:
At this point I am using Twitter for Mac just to see the dark shit they’re going to do with it. How is this easier/better than @-replies? pic.twitter.com/Ll6DNB0I6s
— Dan Frommer (@fromedome) March 29, 2017
Redesigned replies surfaced in October, when some beta testers complained that they had made Twitter harder to read. Twitter says the new design offers more information overall about the accounts you’re tweeting at when you click them, including their profile picture and bio. Tests showed people who had the new design replied more, Twitter says. But for the class of power users that sees Twitter as a 24/7 water cooler, expect this design to land with a thud.
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