Twitter quietly snuck in an option that I’ve been wishing for for a long time, so color me happy. It’s a simple opt-in that would allow people whom you don’t follow to send you a direct message.
This option has a huge potential for misuse, but I think the opportunities far outweigh the annoyance factor. (She says now before the unwanted DMs start rolling in.)
You’ll find the checkbox under the Account tab in your Twitter settings. I think it should be under the Security and Privacy tab, but they didn’t ask me. Tick the box, add your password to prove you mean it and it’s done.
Without the check, direct messages can only be exchanged between mutual followers. You follow me, I follow you – we can direct message each other. It was created as a private way of moving a conversation off of the public feed.
I don’t use it that way. I do use direct messaging to relay non-public information such as an address or phone number, even an email address.
What ends up happening is I get public messages asking me to follow a person so they can send me a private, direct message. Usually its because they want my opinion or they want to pitch me. I’m good with that and now that I’ve checked the box, they can direct message me directly.
The concern is that the option can be used for spamming. So true, but so can the @ mention. Either way, your message is jumping to the head of the queue. I suppose there is a certain weight behind direct messaging versus an @ mention but in my case it’s six of one. . .
The Verge suggests this might be a first step toward Twitter news alerts or even paid brand messaging. Buying a promote Tweet is fine, but imagine if you could direct message 1,000 targeted users.
What I want to know is how Twitter is showing the open direct message option. Will there be an indicator on an account or do we have simply give it a shot and see if it goes through? I’d like to use this option to contact people I want to interview. It’s a quick way to introduce yourself and start the conversation. If you’re interested, we move to email. If not, we move on.
Yes, I see a lot of potential in this little switch. What do you think? Is opening up direct messaging a good idea or akin to opening the spam floodgates.