by | Jun 17, 2016 | Facebook, Social media, Twitter | 0 comments

By Deborah Wroe

It normally bugs me when people moan about changes to Facebook and Twitter. Facebook and Twitter can make whatever changes they like and we just have to work with it, but…the most recent changes announced by Twitter have really riled me. I could drop my tweet in here to show you how riled I was but quoting your own tweet is a bit naff, no? Yes! But the option of quoting your own tweet is actually one of the new changes.

So, the changes, announced in a blog post entitled ‘express-even-more-in-140-characters’ include not counting photos, GIFs, videos, polls, quoted tweets and usernames in the 140 character count. I wouldn’t exactly have been signing a petition to insist on these changes but on balance this is good news. It means if you have a long name – personal or business – you don’t have to worry about shortening it for the purposes of Twitter as it won’t now cut into the 140. And you can GIF away and poll your followers more. And we all love GIFs and pointless polls right? No we chuffing don’t.

I mentioned above the ability to retweet or quote yourself “when you want to share a new reflection or feel like a really good one went unnoticed.” Yee ha to laughing at your own jokes and shameless self-promotion, which everyone loves (see above – chuffing no).

My gripe though is with the loss of .@username. .@username (the dot bit preceding the username) is a workaround for when you want a tweet to be seen by all your followers. So for example I want to have a conversation with Liz. I go…

@lizlancs Did you see this amazing thing going on at the weekend? We should go.

And the only people who see that in their timelines are those following both me and Liz.

IF I want it to be seen by everyone i.e. those following me but not Liz I’d go…

.@lizlancs Did you see this amazing thing going on at the weekend? We should go.

Now in my opinion, most people use .@ to publicly complain. So, for example

.@ACMEdeliveryco big fat fail, left my parcel with a neighbour & now not answering phone.

The purpose of the .@ being to show all that person’s followers what a rubbish service they’ve had from @ACMEdeliveryco.

The original tweeter could have also tweeted…

Hey @ACMEdeliveryco big fat fail, left my parcel with a neighbour & now not answering phone

The . (full stop) is a catch all; anything preceding the @username would mean it’s seen by all.

Anyways, the removal of the .@username as explained by Jack Dorsey to the BBC is because “It doesn’t make sense to anyone, and people have had to work around it. That just looks ugly, and it’s confusing.”

It’s not ugly, Jack! What’s ugly is me now (not yet now, but when the changes are rolled out) seeing a load of tweets to people I don’t follow.

I’m a (ssh don’t tell anyone), fan of muting. There are various widgets, apps, extensions to mute people or conversations or hashtags. For example, there’s a well-known gob on legs who earns her money by being deliberately controversial who I never want to see in my timeline, and there’s an ex journo now talk show host, also a gob on legs. Both muted. Easy peasy. I believe I, and others, will have to find a workaround for the loss of .@ as now (not now, when it gets rolled out), every single tweet from every single person I follow will appear in my timeline. That’s going to be messy and ugly and clog up my timeline with stuff I don’t want to see, I reckon.

Apparently these changes are being implemented to simplify things (read: to entice new users). My own view is that Twitter isn’t too hard for people. Those who don’t get Twitter, don’t get its core function and why they might need or want it, not that they find the mechanics tricky and they’ve filed it under too hard.

I love Twitter, I really do but I don’t want guff on my timeline. What are your thoughts? Is Twitter losing its uniqueness? Are all social media platforms the same? Does it matter?

Full changes can be found at https://blog.twitter.com/express-even-more-in-140-characters