Twitter is allowing users to send direct messages to other users that don't follow them to make private message convos easier to set up. Advertisers will no doubt see this as a golden opportunity to push their wares.
Previously, Twitter users had to ask other users to follow them to allow them to send a private message. Nhu Vuong, senior software engineer at Twitter, said: “Direct messages are the best way to take your public Twitter conversations private. Today, we’re changing how direct messaging works so that it’s even easier for you to communicate one-to-one or with a chosen group of people.”
The changes include a setting on your account that allows you to receive direct messages from anyone, even if you don’t follow them. There are also updated messaging rules so you can reply to anyone who sends you a direct message, regardless of whether or not that person follows you – useful if you want to tell a spammer or advertiser to get lost, although with spammers it's probably best to ignore them.
There is also a new Direct Message button on profile pages on Android and iPhone mobile operating systems, so users will see on the profiles of people you can send direct messages to – providing they don't use BlackBerry or Windows Phone of course.
Vuong added: “We hope these changes help you connect more easily – and directly – on Twitter with the people, causes and businesses you care about most. If you do receive a direct message from someone you don’t want to privately converse with, you can still take steps to stop them [you can block them, at the moment at least].”
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