Twitter has made a big change to its Direct Message (DM) feature, which enables all your followers to be able to send Direct Messages to you, once you’ve opted in, whether you follow them or not. Unlike messages or mentions on Twitter which are open, Direct Messages are private and are only viewable by the sender and recipient.
Up until now, users could only send a Direct Message on Twitter to an account that was following them. This condition was in place to reduce the ability of spammers to send out unwanted messages to people they had no connection with.
Direct Messages are Twitter’s version of email. This change brings the function closer to texting and other mobile messaging services like WhatsApp. The move could be a signal that Twitter is about to launch a mobile internet based messaging system of its own.
This restriction of users having to follow you before you can Direct Message them has now been removed, although you do need to opt in and change a new setting. Go to Settings/Account then scroll to the bottom of the page where you should see an item labelled Messages. A few accounts are not yet seeing this setting but will do shortly.
The main benefit of opting in is that it makes you more accessible; it’s another way for potential clients and contacts to get in touch with you.
Here are some other benefits:
- Makes it easier for customers and clients to contact you with customer service queries and issues.
- Allows people to enter competitions by Direct Message and for you to contact winners.
- Handy for when you wish to switch to private messaging for confidentiality or privacy reasons.
- Great for mobile users as an alternative to text or other mobile messaging services.
This is the third recent improvement to a Direct Messages following syncing of read/unread message between apps and Twitter.com and the introduction of news and alert services like @MagicRecs which by the way is well worth following for relevant recommendations on who to follow.
There’s a potential risk of getting an increased number of spam messages but I’ve had the setting enabled for a couple of weeks and haven’t noticed any increase in unwanted messages.
If you have the new option in your Account Settings I’d encourage you to opt in and give it a try to obtain the benefits listed above.