Twitter has announced a series of changes to how it treats tweets: Some tweets that start with other users’ handles will now be seen by all followers! URLs that point to uploaded pictures, GIFs, videos, and polls, no longer count toward the character limit! You can now retweet yourself! For infrequent users, the changes might seem kind of minor — really, they make Twitter’s behavior a bit more intuitive — but for power users, who at this point are intimately familiar with exactly what they can get away with on the service, there’s still some confusion about how, exactly, the new rules will affect the Twitter experience. (Especially because Twitter is a service geared very specifically toward the outspoken and impatient.) Let’s try to simplify it. Here, as precisely as possible, is what the new Twitter rules mean.
Most importantly: New tweets that start with another user’s handle will now appear in your follower’s feeds, even if your followers don’t follow the other user.
In other words: If I begin a brand-new tweet with “@RealDonaldTrump,” and you follow me, you will see that tweet even if you don’t follow Donald Trump.
But @ replies are still hidden.
If I reply to a tweet of Donald Trump’s — rather than begin a new thread — and you follow me but don’t follow him, you won’t see it.
Unless you retweet yourself.
You’ll need to retweet your own reply tweet if you want all of your followers to see it. As discussed, the change only applies to tweets that start a thread, so your negging will remain (somewhat) obscured unless you want to share it.
Oh, right: You can retweet yourself.
You can now bring back older tweets without having to reply to your old tweets with “Bump” and hope for a few more favs.
Pictures uploaded to Twitter don’t count toward the character limit.
Neither do videos, GIFS, or polls. This means you can fit more words in your presumably fire tweets. (URLs pointing to pictures hosted on other sites or services, like Imgur, will still count.)
Handles also don’t count, as long as they start tweets.
Beginning a tweet with @InsertNameHere will no longer deduct numbers from your character count. Placing it inside the tweet will, however. Again, more room for fire.
Neither do quoted tweets.
Add new commentary to an old tweet. Quote-tweeting gives you another 140 characters, so you can use this option to basically double the length of your tweets.