140 characters is all you get with Twitter, which is why some resort to third party services if they want to communicate something longer form on the platform. However now at least users can send longer messages to those that follow them back, since direct messages have had their restrictions removed. The idea is to make Twitter more competitive with other messaging platforms, including some of the young upstarts which threaten Twitter’s traditional user base.
With no restrictions on characters on services like Snapchat, Facebook messenger, WhatsApp or any of the other number of apps and sites that people can use to communicate, Twitter’s Direct Message service always felt rather restricted. Since you were likely having a conversation through it rather than tweeting publicly, it simply forced users to use multiple messages. Not particularly convenient.
Now though the character limit has been essentially removed – technically each DM is ‘restricted’ to 10,000 characters. Twitter hopes that this will stop its users going elsewhere when they want to have longer form conversations.
However Twitter is aware that it isn’t going to be able to compete head on with some of the more convenient messaging services available today. What it hopes it can do at least with the expansion of DMs, is to make it so people discuss Twitter and Tweets on Twitter, rather than going elsewhere.
“It’s a really huge opportunity for us, to let people talk about Twitter content. We want to give people the channel to talk about that privately with their friends and family,” said Sachin Agarwal, Twitter’s DM product manager (via the Telegraph).
This will also aid Twitter’s front-facing customer service accounts, as many companies operate. Describing and answering problems through DM should be much easier with more characters to work with.
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KitGuru Says: Restricting DMs always seemed like a dumb plan, so it’s good Twitter has moved on from that. Do you think it will help it compete with other messenger services though?