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Twitter announces change to one of its most distinctive features

After rumors surfaced last week that Twitter might ease up on what counts toward its 140-character limit in tweets, the social media company officially announced today that it will be rolling out changes over the next few months.

In a blog post, Twitter Senior Product Manager Todd Sherman confirmed that the microblogging site will give people a little more room to express their thoughts. For instance, including links, user handles in replies, or media attachments like photos or GIFs will no longer "'use up' valuable characters," he wrote.

In addition, he said other changes will "simplify tweets."

For the first time, Twitter users will also be able to re-tweet themselves. While this sounds a little like the social media equivalent of talking to yourself, the new "Retweet button" for your own tweets will allow you to "share a new reflection" or bring attention back to a post that you felt didn't get enough exposure the first time.

Another change involves the beginning of tweets. In the past, if you started a tweet with another person's Twitter handle, you had to include an extra period first (like ".@katyperry") if you wanted it to be seen by all of your followers, and not just be sent to the person being referenced.

Twitter being Twitter, it quickly filled up with contrary opinions about what the changes will really mean.

Sherman wrote that these updates will become available in the coming months and that the company is notifying users and developers now so that "everything works as it should when we roll these changes out."

The early heads-up allows developers to start working on updates to the countless products that are built using Twitter's API.

"In addition to the changes outlined above, we have plans to help you get even more from your Tweets. We're exploring ways to make existing uses easier and enable new ones, all without compromising the unique brevity and speed that make Twitter the best place for live commentary, connections, and conversations," Sherman wrote, teasing the possibility of more changes to come.

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