Twitter has introduced a new feature that allows users to opt-in to receive direct messages from anyone on the site, not just followers, in a move that could be especially beneficial to businesses.
Traditionally, direct messages could be sent only if both users followed each other. This made it hard for those who wished to share information with a company on the site without having to do so publically.
As such, the forlorn request of ‘Can you follow me please?’ has often been seen on the site. However, the changes introduced by Twitter will mean that anyone - brands or individuals - can receive direct messages without needing to follow that person.
Twitter senior software engineer Nhu Vuong explained in a blog post why the firm had made the update.
“Previously, if you wanted to send a direct message to the ice cream shop down the street about how much you love their salted caramel flavour, you’d have to ask them to follow you first,” he said.
“With today’s changes, the ice cream shop can opt to receive direct messages from anyone; so you can privately send your appreciation for the salted caramel without any barriers.”
The ice cream example may be a little twee, but there are undoubtedly benefits for businesses with this update, as it will make it easier for customers to get in touch with complaints and queries in a private way, thereby improving interaction.
Furthermore, as part of the update Twitter has also introduced a setting that allows users to reply to any direct messages, regardless of whether they are being followed by that person.
Again, this could benefit brands by allowing them to reply to customers who contact them via direct messages without having to follow them first, helping to improve response times.
Users can opt-in to direct messages from all via the small 'cog' icon. The option to toggle the feature on or off is under the privacy heading.
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