Last week Twitter added a new feature that changes Direct Messages to make them much more powerful and useful. Now Twitter has enabled a feature allowing people to let anyone send them a Direct Message. Formerly you had to follow someone before they could send you a Direct Message.
That requirement sometimes thwarted communication on Twitter. People had to tweet you and ask you to follow them before they could send you a Direct Message.
Now, if you turn on this feature, you can allow anyone to send you a Direct Message, even people you don’t follow on Twitter.
If you’re concerned that this will open the floods and result in you getting thousands of unwanted messages, don’t panic. This feature is turned off by default.
While you may not revel in the idea of having this feature for yourself, you may be able to use it to communicate more effectively with others. If someone has this feature turned on, you can send them a Direct Message without asking for them to follow you first. This could open a new avenue of communication for you that you didn’t have before.
What Is a Direct Message
A Direct Message is a communication on Twitter that is private between the parties involved and doesn’t appear in the Twitter Stream. You may want to use Direct Messages to relay private information. For example, a company may ask you to send your address via Twitter if you won a contest, are owed a refund, etc.
Unless a person has allowed anyone to send them a Direct Message, that person must follow you before you can send them a Direct Message.
You can send someone a Direct Message by going to their Twitter profile page and clicking the gear icon. Choose Send a Direct Message.
If you click the icon and don’t see “Send a Direct Message” as an option that means:
1. The person doesn’t follow you and
2. The person hasn’t enabled everyone to send him a Direct Message.
How to Let Anyone Send You a Direct Message
If you’ve been wishing you could get more Direct Messages on Twitter then you’re in luck! You can now get Direct Messages from all 300 million Twitter users! If you want to, that is…
To let the entire Twitterverse have the power to send you a Direct Message:
Go to =>
- Settings by clicking on your profile picture in the upper right corner of the screen =>
- Security and privacy =>
- Direct Messages =>
- Check “Receive Direct Messages from anyone” =>
- Click the Save changes button
After you save your settings people will be able to send you Direct Messages on Twitter without you having to follow them first.
Note that you can block an account from sending you Direct Messages, even if you’ve allowed anyone to send you direct messages.
Sending Someone Else a Direct Message on Twitter
You may be able to use this new feature to send Direct Messages to others whom you want to contact using Twitter, without asking for them to follow you first.
Twitter can be a highly effective way of contacting businesses directly. The response time for tweeting a business often tends to be much shorter for contacting them on Twitter versus email.
The next time you want to contact someone on Twitter, check to see if you can send them a Direct Message first. Even if they don’t follow you, you may be able to reach out via Direct Message.
Some businesses may want to encourage Direct Messaging to avoid the public forum of Twitter. They may have more incentive to provide customer service to someone who sends them a Direct Message to keep the issue private.
Or perhaps a business may want to ask for suggestions from customers for new flavors of ice cream or pizza topping ideas. By using Direct Messages on Twitter it could avoid its email being flooded and keep the suggestions private from its competitors.
Do you use Direct Messages on Twitter?
Are you excited about this new Twitter feature? Are you going to enable it for your Twitter account? Do you look forward to sending Direct Messages to others who don’t follow you on Twitter? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below!
* Twitter photo (edited) courtesy of mkhmarketing via Flickr and Creative Commons