Friday, June 12, 2015

Will Twitter Replace Your Favorite Messaging App?

Twitter announced Thursday that beginning in July (no specific date has yet been given), they will be lifting the 140-character limit on direct messages, giving users 10,000 characters with which to express themselves and mimicking more of an instant messenger feel.

In many of the chats I participate in, the common theme of “do online conversations fuel offline conversations” often comes up. Is this an effort on the part of Twitter to attempt to curtail this? Keeping you on their site longer, as opposed to taking conversations from DMs to email, so you can write more, talk longer?

New messaging apps are launched every day, competing for our share of mobile minutes and attention. I find this to be a smart move by Twitter, and one that I welcome. I am already on Twitter, and now I can get more out of it without the frustration of trying to follow along with a DM stream that I often picture as a trail – and if laid out could circle the globe 5 times over.

The Pros

I think it will help when it comes to customer service. I find that most people (myself included) are much more likely to reach out to a company on Twitter for a quick response if I have a complaint or need help, then I am to email them. Brands will now be able to respond to customers right then and there, rather than having to say “email me.”

When I use DMs, I use them to for longer info, engagements and conversations that I can take part in a quick tweet. Having to constantly send these DMs mid-sentence has been a bit of an annoyance, breaking up thoughts and the natural flow of conversation. To avoid this, I will generally take these conversations to Facebook or another messaging app. As Twitter is my favorite social networking platform, this is a great move to compete with other messaging apps, keeping me on Twitter, rather than sending me to another platform.

If this allows me to use Twitter the same way I would use a text message, I could cut down on any additional fees I may incur on my mobile bill, if I go over my text message allotments, or whatever package I’m subscribed to, which keeps me within a certain (much too small) range of what I can send to friends. I also will save memory on my cell phone, not having to download another app that will allow me to converse in long form with friends. Facebook recognized the need for ease of messaging long ago – through their messaging platform as well as their acquisition of WhatsApp.

The Cons

At first glance, the only con I saw was that since removing the “only people you follow can send you DMs” anyone could send me an extra-long DM, selling to me without me looking to them for information on their product or services. However, you can uncheck the “Receive Direct Messages from anyone” box in the security and privacy section in Twitter’s settings to stop this from happening. Twitter is allowing you to stop people you do not follow from sending you these new, longer DMs.

I’m interested in your thoughts on this new development. For now, I find it will allow conversations to be more fluid and natural, and I’m looking forward to it.

Probably checking Twitter...

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