Twitter Removes 140 Character Limit for Direct Messages

Peter Roesler, President - Web Marketing Pros

By Peter Roesler

President, Web Marketing Pros

DM140_LaunchGIF_finalThough smaller than Facebook, Twitter remains a powerful platform for social media marketing and advertising products to consumers. One of the major challenges for business owners who want to use Twitter is the platform’s 140 character limit for content. In an attempt to make the platform more useful to marketers, Twitter has removed the 140 character limit from Direct Messages.

“While Twitter is largely a public experience, Direct Messages let you have private conversations about the memes, news, movements, and events that unfold on Twitter,” wrote Sachin Agarwal in a blog post on Twitter. “Each of the hundreds of millions of Tweets sent across Twitter every day is an opportunity for you to spark a conversation about what’s happening in your world. That’s why we’ve made a number of changes to Direct Messages over the last few months. Today’s change is another big step towards making the private side of Twitter even more powerful and fun.”

Removing the character limit is something many marketers have wanted from Twitter for a long time, but it’s important to remember that public Tweets still have the usual character limit. The fact that Tweets are short allows a lot of voices to be heard in the global conversation. The 140 character limit forces people to state their point quickly and many surveys of Twitter users have show that people don’t want to see that aspect go away. Though frustrating at times, the character limit is an essential part of the Twitter experience.

“You may be wondering what this means for the public side of Twitter,” the company wrote, seemingly in anticipation of the potential criticism. “In a word, nothing. Tweets will continue to be the 140 characters they are today, rich with commentary as well as photos, videos, links, Vines, gifs, and emoji. So, start working on those sonnets.

Additionally, though the Direct Message change is coming to most Twitter apps and the website, sending and receiving Direct Messages via SMS will still be limited. This limitation can be avoided by using the Twitter app or several of their authorized partner apps, but it’s worth mentioning to avoid any issues.

Anything that removes a barrier to using social media to communicate with consumers on Twitter is a good thing, and there are specific ways business owners can use the change to improve their social media marketing efforts. For example, it can be relatively easy to ask a question within 140 characters, but giving a comprehensive response is harder.

Coupled with the changes to who can Direct Message whom, brands can use Direct Messages to respond to customer service issues in a way that fully addresses the issue and without having to write a series of Tweets or messages.

According to Twitter, the new feature will begin rolling out on Android and iOS apps, on twitter.com, TweetDeck, and Twitter for Mac here in the U.S. Internationally, the rollout will continue over the next few weeks. Twitter users will need the latest versions of the apps so they recommend updating right away.

For more news about using Twitter for business, read this article on the Twitter’s new features to let marketers manage ads through their Twitter app.


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