No 140 character limit for Direct Messages on Twitter from July

Starting July, Twitter is all set to remove the 140 characters limit but for its direct messaging services only, the site announced. However, there are no changes in the public-facing tweets. In other words, there are going to be no changes for regular users except for those who use Twitter for chats with their followers.

Sachin Agarwal, DM product manager posted API recommendations for developers so as to “make this change as seamless as possible”. The announcement regarding the change was made ahead of time to Twitter’s developer community so that third-party apps can support it from launch, will raise the character limit on direct messages from 140 characters to 10,000. For instance, Facebook Messanger has a character limit of 20,000.

“We’ve done a lot to improve direct messages over the past year and have much more exciting work on the horizon”, said Sachin Agarwal. “You may be wondering what this means for the public side of Twitter. Nothing! Tweets will continue to be the 140 characters they are today.”

In the coming weeks, the DM revision will be tested before it is widely put into effect next month. The alteration removes the need to send multiple private messages in one conversation.

Twitter’s thinking towards its direct messaging feature has changed widely due to its history. For many years, the service was abandoned, which led to many people think if the company was planning to stop the service altogether. Notifications were breaking that led to users missing the messages; read counts failed to sync or reflect whether a message had been read at all; and a bug in the spam detection feature stopped users from sending links in DMs for over a year, even as Twitter asserted that it was a valuable anti-spam feature and not a bug.

However, the internal feelings towards DMs apparently warmed towards the end of 2014. The bugs that were existing for a long time were fixed, new features were introduced, that included sending of pictures in DMs, create and join group DMs, and receive DMs from users who are not followers.

“I assume Twitter has done analysis of users and found this is a source of frustration,” said Michael Mulvey, assistant professor of marketing at the University of Ottawa’s Telfer School of Management. Mulvey continued: “Or, perhaps it’s an opportunity to stop users substituting Twitter for other platforms like Google or Facebook.”

“It grates against the core aspect of their brand identity,” said Mulvey. “Twitter has always been about succinct messages. It’s losing a unique quality but I don’t think it will arouse much of a backlash. “It may encourage some gentle ribbing. I’ve seen a few people say we’re going back to AOL again.”

Steve Ladurantaye, head of news and government partnerships of the Twitter said the move is, “just to make Twitter even more awesome”. The change could be a sign of the times to come.


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