Good things, when short, are twice as good… Beginning February 20, Twitter will shorten tweets that contain links to other websites or photographs to 118 characters (or to 117 if it is an https address). This way, all the messages sent on the social network are similar in length and look more or less identical.

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This perhaps excessive brevity isn’t the only change in Twitter this week. As it announced on the corporate blog, Twitter has begun indexing users’ tweets according to importance and quality as a strategy to improve data mining, an aspect in which Twitter is lagging far behind the rest, such as its main competitor, Facebook.

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The importance ranking given to each message is divided into three categories: none, low, medium, or high, although in the beginning there won’t be any difference between them because they’re all network metadata. It comes down to an improvement aimed towards app developers, providing them with easier and more precise analyses than the number of RTs or favorites a tweet has.

With more than 50 million registered users, Twitter is trying to solve a serious problem in its system on its seventh anniversary: the enormous amount of inconsequential information and noise. Ranking messages may be also be part of its commercial impulse, and a way to attract advertising, because companies want to appear in messages that are more visible.

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