clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

The Pros and Cons of Twitter’s New Rules for Replies

Goodbye, Twitter Canoe; hello, Twitter Cruise Ship

(Ringer illustration)
(Ringer illustration)

On Thursday, Twitter announced that usernames would not count toward the 140-character limit in replies to other tweets. Now, when you reply to a tweet, the usernames of those in the conversation will appear above the tweet text rather than in it, and you can easily choose whom you’d like to include and exclude from your conversation.

This move is part of Twitter’s attempt to allow users to “express even more in 140 characters,” and has been forthcoming since May. It also follows the company’s recent moves to deal with harassment on its platform, including giving users the ability to mute Twitter eggs.

Let’s look at the positive side first: You’ll no longer be punished for trying to converse with users who have long usernames. And now when my friends from school decide to troll my opinions on Drake, I’ll be reminded of my own username less prominently.

But now, the cons. Some, including The Ringer’s own Rodger Sherman, have expressed concern that this change undermines a pillar of the Twitter lexicon.

(This worry is mostly technical: While the “@” symbol won’t appear in your replies to tweets, you can still bombard someone with unsolicited opinions.)

One more pressing issue is that the change will make it possible to create massive “Twitter Canoes,” a general term for conversations with more than three users. RIP, Twitter Canoe; welcome, Twitter Cruise Ship.

If this looked crowded, wait until you see loaded replies in a third-party app.

Fortunately, these changes were made after updates that allowed users to limit notifications. In the event you are included in one of these mega-threads, you can simply mute the conversation.

Please don’t @ me about any of this.