6 New Twitter Features You Need to Know About

2016 has been a dynamic year for Twitter. Growth is stagnant and investors have been impatient, and as a result Twitter has made a lot of changes to their platform in order to entice people and ultimately to better monetize the platform. So it will shock nobody to hear that Twitter continued to tweak their platform.

These six upcoming changes to Twitter are small but also substantial. You will look like a PRO-fessional social media user if you master these. And after reading this, you will not ever put a period before a username with the hopes to broadcast your personal conversation, and may send retweets of your own tweets like a boss.

1. No more periods before usernames

Perhaps the most dramatic change to Twitter is that you will no longer need to put a period before an @username in order to broadcast a message to someone. This means that there are three paths for an @reply message:

  • A new tweet prefaced by an @username – will be seen by all of your followers. This change means that you cannot reach an individual exclusively by beginning a tweet with their username.
  • A reply to a tweet – will still be prefaced by an @username, but will only be visible to followers on the “Tweets and Replies” tab.
  • A reply to a tweet can be retweeted, and then broadcast to all of your followers.

So right off the bat this is both a subtle and dramatic change to the Twitter conventions that we’ve grown accustomed to. And if you use @usernames to directly address people – soon everybody (well, 3 percent of everybody anyhow) may easily see what you’re tweeting in their timelines (if the great Twitter algorithm allows). 

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2. More characters! (kind of)

The next change in the Twitter platform we give you a little more room to write…. but not much. @usernames at the beginning of a tweet, photos, GIFs and video links will not be counted towards the 140-character limit for a tweet. @usernames that are included within the body of a tweet would count towards those 140 characters, however.

This is not nearly as extreme as the proposal that was floated at the beginning of the year where Twitter would allow thousands of characters per tweet, but it does serve the purpose of allowing the appropriate amount of conversation around media which has been a strength of Facebook and Instagram, but Twitter to a lesser degree.

3. Periscope archives

One of the most frustrating aspects of Twitter’s live-stream Periscope app was its inability to archive broadcasts (broadcasts typically expire after 24 hours). Third-party apps were developed to bridge this gap, but the archives went to YouTube which meant that broadcasters had to go out of their way to broadcast on Periscope when it would have been just as easy to broadcast on Live Hangouts and to archive automatically. So, it made a lot of sense for Twitter to find a way to archive these within the platform which it does automatically.

Variety also reports that Periscope is developing a search feature that will allow you to search archived Scopes within the platform. So these changes (however subtle) add a dimension to the platform that it was lacking.

4. Retweet and quote yourself

The Twitter user base is stagnant. One of the residual issues of this is that only 20 percent of the population may be participating on the platform. This means that you may find that your tweets are far more substantive or impressive than most of the tweets in your timeline. Factor in the Twitter algorithm, and you may be the wittiest person you know. If this describes you, you will LOVE this new feature.

Twitter will soon allow you to retweet yourself and to quote yourself in your tweets. And if you think that this sounds too good to be true, this is probably a feature that you will use.

5. Audio cards now feature Spotify

Twitter’s Audio Cards are not a new feature, but the 30-second samples that they were able to play were exclusively from Soundcloud and Apple. This is somewhat limiting given the different platforms that people listen to music on.

As such, Twitter announced that they will now support Spotify for Audio Cards. This means that Twitter will soon be integrated more thoroughly into Spotify, and soon your Twitter timeline may be peppered with 30-second samples from the Spotify library (A public service announcement from my daughter: you cannot play Beyonce’s “Lemonade” from Spotify and must hold out for an integration with Tidal).

6. No more Buy button

A couple of years ago, Twitter partnered with some third-party apps and big businesses to introduce the “Buy” button which enabled direct e-commerce transactions from the Twitter platform. Odds are this won’t impact your life too much, but Twitter is no longer developing this feature.

Conclusion

So now you are in the know. You can share 30-second clips of Spotify songs, you can Scope to your heart’s delight knowing that your broadcasts will be archived on the Periscope platform for a (digital) eternity, soon you will be able to retweet yourself and when you send out an @reply you may have no idea where it will be routed or who will see it. And when you see someone placing a period before an @username, you can demonstrate your knowledge of the subtleties of Twitter by informing them that it is unnecessary.

One last caveat about all of these changes is that they’re not in place quite yet, but will be in the coming months (though Spotify integration and Periscope archives are available now).

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