Yesterday Twitter announced a major update to its iOS and Android apps, this time focusing on Direct Messages. The new versions not only include a direct link to the feature in the tab bar, but they also let you share and view photos inside of DMs for the first time.
Compared to past updates, the addition of photo support within DMs might not seem like a major milestone, but it demonstrates Twitter’s renewed interest in the private messaging aspect of the service. Although the feature is still heavily used by many members, easier access and new content support could spark increased adoption.
Many brands currently rely on DMs for private messages regarding customer service issues. By adding image support, community managers and customer support reps can bypass email and ask customers to send screenshots directly through Twitter instead.
This might not always be the most convenient option, especially since images can only be added to DMs from mobile at this time, but for some it could certainly add context to customer support messages.
It’s also worth noting that the addition of Direct Messages to the tab bar means that Discover is no longer accessible from the main view. Timeline, Activity, and Discover now reside under a single tab which individuals can swipe through. Some people might worry, however, that consumers will forget that those sections are still accessible.
But it seems like an understandable trade-off if Twitter wants to become a bigger player in the private conversations space. The company has long tried to be the hub of public conversations, something which many marketers have taken full advantage of, but time-sensitive social media apps like Snapchat have recently increased in popularity and brands have been trying to capitalize on that success.
Whether or not yesterday’s update will catapult Twitter into the secret world of disappearing content is yet to be seen, but it certainly does create new opportunities for brands that regularly use, or have customers who regularly use, Direct Messages.
Jennifer Beese: Jennifer Beese has worked as a community manager and social media strategist. When she’s not writing, you can find her studying anatomy and physiology—she literally has a skeleton in her closet—or under the stars with her telescope.