Twitter frees Direct Messaging, but does this solve “DM fail?”

Twitter is expanding its Direct Messaging function, allowing those who aren’t following each other to privately communicate. Users need to opt in to activate the feature, the company said in a blog post.

The change works both ways – you can DM anyone, even those you don’t follow. Or, a person can receive a DM from someone without having to follow them.

There will be a new Direct Message button on users’ profile pages visible on mobile phones, so you can see if the person is open to receiving private messages.

It’s unclear whether the changes will help mitigate so-called “DM fail,” whereby a person thinks they are sending a direct, private message, but in fact has blasted all of his or her followers. Twitter has been criticized for not making its service easy to use, especially for newcomers.

And, with Twitter beefing up its anti-harassment efforts, it reminded users that “if you do receive a Direct Message from someone you don’t want to privately converse with, you can still take steps to stop them.”

The more expanded Direct Messaging, says Terry Collins of CNET, is part of Twitter’s effort to increase the number of users as well as their engagement, something that investors have pushed for.

Companies and celebrities may use the feature to respond directly to tweets, says Collins. The move is likely an effort to compete in a world where Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp are growing, said Napier Lopez on The Next Web.

Updated.

Above: The Twitter symbol on a mobile phone. 

 

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