After months of speculation, Twitter has announced that they will officially be dropping the 140 character limit on Direct Messages from Wednesday August 19.
Users will now be able to send direct messages of up to 10,000 characters to one another, which could well prove to be a blessing and a curse, particularly when it comes to spammy accounts and the overly self-promotional types that you often see using the social network.
Twitter will implement the changes across the Android, iOS and web-based platforms from Wednesday, and is likely to take a few weeks to settle in completely across all users of the service.
This change comes in the wake of Twitter’s decision to drop custom backgrounds in exchange for a generic white background, adding further fuel to the speculation that Twitter is trying to distance itself from the term ‘social media’ and instead concentrate on becoming a new curating service.
However, the DM character limit change seems to contradict that, and could instead be a move to help businesses that operate on Twitter to communicate with customers and clients via the social network, especially when customers are openly criticising them or sending complaints to them via Tweets.
The change could mean that – instead of Tweeting “DM us your number and we’ll contact you” or “email us at firstname.lastname@example.org” – they can instead take the complaint away from the public forum and into Direct Messaging and have the forum and character limit available to deal with the query without potentially damaging their brand and customer service reputation.
Of course, this is all speculation at the moment, but it will be interesting to see how Twitter users react to the change. Will the spammers start sending 9,999 character nuisance messages around? Or will it open the door for better communication via the social networking giant? You can be sure that Twitter users will voice their opinions either way.
The change could also simply be a move by Twitter to broaden their appeal and keep themselves accessible to all users of various ages and interests. The DM limit change means that it has a feature similar to Facebook’s Messenger and WhatsApp, and it’s enabling of group messaging in January and the addition to allow any user to send you direct messages in April are clear signs that Twitter doesn’t want to lose people to other social networks.
There are some that are speculating that all this change is purely down to the troubling period that Twitter has gone through, with their former CEO Dick Costolo stepping down in June, a decline in user growth and various negative news stories in relation to trolling and online abuse. It remains to be seen whether these new changes can bring an upswing in the company’s fortunes or not.