Twitter users can now send direct messages (DM) of up to 10,000 characters, three months after the company announced the forthcoming change to users and developers.
According to a Guardian report, the new DMs, which are intended to be of effectively unlimited length for the typical user, are part of the company’s long-running effort to upgrade its messaging service to make it a more competitive alternative to market leaders such as Facebook’s WhatsApp and Messenger apps.
Sachin Agarwal, Twitter’s DM product manager, said: “We believe that private messaging is a core part of the twitter experience. Where we see our advantage [over apps such as WhatsApp] is that there’s so much amazing content on Twitteralready, that we want to enable people to have private conversations about those things.”
After years spent all-but-abandoned, the company turned its attention to updating its direct messages towards the end of 2014, first enabling group DMs with multiple participants, and then announcing the change in DM length earlier this year. As a result, Agarwal accepted that Twitter still has to win back trust from users before they will devote time to the feature.
Nonetheless, he said: “We’ve won back a lot of trust, but we still have a long way to go. Users are really excited about it, we’re seeing our numbers skyrocket.”
“One of the really interesting uses of DM is talking to business and getting customer support, and those are using third party clients. We have a number of partners that build clients for these businesses and so we wanted to make sure they had the time to update and be ready.
“Let’s say that I’m talking to a business and I write them a direct message that is 160 characters long and that business doesn’t read the last 20, for me as a consumers that’s a really bad experience. And that was how we looked at it, the users’ perspective, making sure they have a really great experience.”