Twitter has announced new changes to its direct message features. Users can now, unlike before, send direct messages to other users even when they are not following them. Users can also opt to accept direct messages from any other Twitter user.
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The feature is not completely new, and it is interesting that Twitter rolled it out to some users in 2013 and is only rolling it out now to the general public. The feature has a new Direct Message button on profile pages on Android and iPhone and is visible on the profiles of people users can send Direct Messages to. Twitter has also catered for the possible abuse of its new feature. Users can block the direct messages and stop that account from being able to DM them.
Earlier this year Twitter introduced group messaging and video capabilities. This new feature is in line with moving Twitter users from public orientated conversations and towards more private conversation. This is in part the success of other private messaging apps like Snapchat, Messenger, WhatsApp and in part it is that as much as Twitter users might always be in the mood for public spats, they might sometimes prefer to have some conversations in private.
Twitter might be moving in this direction but they are certainly not in mechanism anything like Snapchat, Messenger or WhatsApp. It is precisely this that will be interesting to see how its continuing overhaul of its direct message feature benefits users and if it gains any popularity.