Twitter ups its messaging game

Danielle De Souza Submitted by on the 23rd of June 2015

Last week, Twitter announced they’ve lifted the character limit on direct messages, from the notorious 140 characters to a whopping 10,000. This change is not insignificant, especially when viewed in conjunction with the other recent changes to the platform.

Twitter have recently announced three big changes and all have been made to the direct messaging component of the app. First, Twitter announced that users could send group direct messages, they then enabled direct messaging to people who don’t follow you, and now the lifting of the character limit.

Individually, the changes may not seem massive, but viewed together, it’s obvious that Twitter is positioning the platform against messaging apps like WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger.

Here’s what the three changes mean in a brand’s world:

  1.  Higher character limits

    The new 10 000 character limit enables more detailed private conversations, allowing customer service to better resolve an issue, or answer a query, without having to leave the network. We no longer need to send customers elsewhere (call centres or email) to give us more information. This cuts the process down and saves everyone time.

    It also allows Twitter to become more of an editorial platform. Brands can now send full letters to consumers, changing the way we think about the PR on this platform. Invitations, press releases and early product launches can now all be done without needing to source email addresses or telephone numbers.

  2. Group direct messages

    Although group messages aren’t a new concept, most other platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook and WhatsApp don’t allow brands to participate in the conversation. Because of the nature of Twitter, where a brand’s account isn’t seen differently to that of an individual, this is groundbreaking for the platform’s communities.

    Not only can a brand now have in-depth conversations with multiple people at once, they are also not limited to the previous 140 characters. Brand advocacy and market research strategies can now be relooked to include this new model, as it easily allows private groups to be formed and conversations to be held with the right people on specific topics.

  3. Message without a follow

    Being able to message people without needing them to follow you first gives rise to potential abuse and invasion, much like the pesky call centre phone calls we all hate. But it also has positive points for both brands and consumers. Brands no longer need to waste time and timelines asking people to follow them in order to get their information via DM, and consumers can immediately initiate a private conversation with a brand without it having to start in the public sphere.

    The way brands can communicate with their Twitter communities has now evolved. The three changes, when viewed together, give brands a much more powerful communication and customer service tool. It’s a series of deliberate and strategic moves from Twitter to make the platform better for brands, and to potentially pre-empt a move to any other messaging platform.