Alongside an announcement on their blog on the 5th April 2016, Twitter rolled out a new direct message button which allows users to share tweets as direct messages. According to the network, the number of direct messages grew by over 60% in 2015, and the new feature responds to this.
The new direct message (DM) button appears as an envelope icon directly beside Twitter’s ‘like’ icon beneath tweets. When users hit this button they will be given the option to search and choose friends to share the Tweet with, together with an added message, allowing users to ‘spark a private conversation’. The direct messaging feature allows users to send to both singular recipients and groups.
In their announcement regarding the update, Twitter explained why they had decided to make the move…
“This update is our next step towards making conversations richer in Direct Messages. Over time, we’ve added more ways to express yourself using GIFs, emojis, or realllllllyyyyy long private messages, helped you connect with a group of people, and made it easy to get customer service.”
The introduction of a direct messaging button on tweets is yet more evidence of attempts by the network to grow their user base, which has slowed right down in recent months. It’s becoming obvious that Twitter is trying particularly hard to compete with the might of other Social Networking sites, particularly Facebook. These efforts have included the decision to change their ‘favourite’ feature to a ‘like’ feature, the controversial decision to play around with the ordering of tweets, and most recently winning a bidding war to livestream Thursday night NFL games.
Could this be an attempt on Twitter’s part to compete with Facebook messaging and Whatsapp? There is certainly evidence to suggest so. Regardless, it is good to see the Social Network make updates in-line with their original vision for the network of instantaneous expressions of thoughts and ideas.