What’s the Point of Twitter Direct Messaging?

I’m a pretty avid Twitter user and I love the platform itself because of the fast-paced social media atmosphere it provides. However, my positive feelings about Twitter slow down when it comes to their Direct Messaging facet. My opinions for Twitter’s DM feature has been a little negative. Frankly, I never enjoyed using it!

Sorry, but this is where Twitter really takes second to Facebook. Facebook’s messaging platform is a huge reason for its success. The Facebook Messenger Application has been very profitable and on the web browser it seems to be successful as well. The ease of the app and how popular it is obviously contributes to Facebook’s growth. Thus, Twitter does not exactly need Direct Messaging. It is just a feature that is there. It even makes more sense for Snapchat, Instagram and LinkedIn to maintain their messaging features. Snapchat of course thrives off of their direct image messaging ideas. Instagram has recently picked up this feature and has seen decent profitability from it. LinkedIn of course needs this feature so people can interact regarding jobs and networking.

But why does Twitter need it? Their social media is about their speed and quick updates so users are always informed. They have prospered since they built their app around the idea that the users should always be viewing new material when they refresh their feed. And this is why I love Twitter so much. Whenever I’m scrolling down my feed I’m always reading new content.

However, after doing some research my opinion changed a little. I can see how start up companies and marketing agencies could use Twitter DMs to their advantage. I understand that this provides great customer experience, since customers can contact smaller companies directly. As more and more companies create a presence on social media Twitter DMs will grow in their popularity. Especially for startup companies, because they have the ability to market their brand and recruit via Twitter. Just being in Social Media & Digital Business and constantly tweeting about social media I get follows from various marketing firms. And, it is proven to be a great way to reach out to people and message them about possible career opportunities.

On the other hand, I have read about how companies will send spam messages and no user enjoys that. Many of Twitter’s spam leads to viruses and many users have complains about this.

Now coming from the perspective of a college student, why do we need Twitter Direct Messaging? This feature is not really for us. If we want to send pictures we use Snapchat or even Instagram. And, usually, if we need to talk to someone and we do not have their phone number we utilize Facebook Messenger. Thus, for my generation and type of user Twitter DM does lack the creativity, fun, and need for usage. Just comparing it to Facebook Messenger, Twitter DM does not have a messenger feel. It doesn’t have the glitz, glamour, or instant messaging aspect.

I don’t mean to hate on Twitter, but their DM feature has always bothered me a little bit. Maybe I don’t have much experience with it to really justify my claim. But, I’ll argue that for college students and young adults, Twitter DM doesn’t seem to appeal to them. I feel like for users my age, we need something that is just easy and simple. We need a user interface with no complications and something we already used to. We enjoy Twitter for the trending topics, the gossip, and the breaking news. But, Facebook allows us to engage in passive communication with our Friends. Twitter, to me, is not for the constant interaction with your Followers and so therefore, I can understand why Twitter has not invested much into their Direct Messaging feature.

I can see Twitter still trying to improve their Direct Messaging feature. Whether they get acquired or not I still think its a major component of their business and could change their position amongst the rest of the social media powerhouses. Just making the interface more appealing would improve its popularity. Twitter’s implementation of GIF’s have been made Directing Messaging more fun. Yet, there can be more improvements made especially after iOS 10’s new installments in the Messaging App. Adding new effects can be a crucial way for Twitter to grow their DM aspect. They are certainly not known for this part of their app, but, small changes could change the way we look at Twitter.

So yea, I’m not Twitter’s biggest fan of their Direct Messaging feature. I understand, however, that marketing firms and startup companies can utilize Twitter DMs to reach out to many prospective clients and recruits. In my own perspective, for users my age and college students in general, I don’t see the benefits of Twitter’s DM facet in comparison to other social media applications.

4 comments

  1. I like how you presented the other side of your argument. “I can see how start up companies and marketing agencies could use Twitter DMs to their advantage. I understand that this provides great customer experience, since customers can contact smaller companies directly.”
    If your opinion represents that of most people your age, Twitter should take notice. Their DM app could appeal to a wider range of users, including college students, if they put some effort into it. Then again, maybe they should not try to compete with Facebook Messenger and Snapchat. Strategy experts often say that performing to a company’s core strength and focusing resources on that core is the right direction, contrasting with the ecosystem strategy of the current large digital players of Facebook, Amazon, Google, etc …. Twitter is not in the same category of the 3 just mentioned. The ecosystem argument only makes sense if there is volume to drive the ecosystem, and Twitter probably does not have that huge volume of both users and time in the screen.

  2. I agree with the above commenter in the sense that Twitter should probably stay in their lane when it comes to their DM feature. I’m not sure what their intended use for it is, but I do agree that it is another relatively useful platform to connect with employees/employers about career options. Perhaps someone is available on Twitter and not LinkedIn? I don’t know, just throwing an idea out there. On the other hand, though, I personally love the DM option because my friends and I just send each other funny videos. It would be too much of a hassle to send a link via text!

  3. This was an interesting post. Personally, very recently I was told to leverage DM in Twitter to message someone. As a new user to Twitter, rarely using the site prior to this class, I found the process quite complicated… for some reason, I wasn’t allowed to message this person because I wasn’t following him… This would mean that I would have to first) follow him second) direct tweet at him. This just seemed excessive when I could just email him or use Linkedin to message him. I do believe that this is not a part of twitter that people leverage anymore or utilize as much as they should. However, in your post, I learned a lot about how companies already use DM in Twitter and how they could further use it! I think that this would be a good way for companies to communicate with their customers directly-particularly as often times customers will provide true, unbias company opinions on their Twitter. Overall, great post and interesting topic!

  4. I think you picked up well on the customer service application (many like to shift complaint resolution to DM, so its not hashed out in public). Interestingly, though, I do get alot of Twitter DM from students in my class. It’s a go-to connection mechanism when you aren’t friends on FB.

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