Twitter Direct Messages Gains Much Needed Improvements

By @TheMarkDalton

Remember when Twitter talked up messaging on the platform when they rolled out group messages earlier in the year? No? Well if you can’t remember it then don’t worry – that was back in January of this year so it is some time ago now.

Twitter users had been calling out for group messaging at the time and it finally arrived. Of course it could do with some improvements such as nested replies. When I tested it with the ITN team we found it hard to follow when the conversation moved fast at times.

Quite simply, despite the group messaging additions we knew there were still better alternatives out there.

Twitter has now rolled out an update which aims to make them more competitive with mobile messaging clients. Messaging is big and apps such as Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Google Hangouts, iMessage…are all seeing large numbers of people using them.

Each platform has built upon and developed functionality adding things such as the ability to send video messages, GIFs, stickers and more. Twitter however has pretty much stayed the same.

Now several features have been introduced – read receipts, typing indicators and web link previews. Read receipts and typing indicators are common to any modern day app now. People like to know if you have seen their message and they want to know if you are replying or not.

In group messages, Twitter will also indicate which people have seen your message or will note a “seen by everyone” indicator when everyone in the group has viewed your post.

Not everyone will welcome the idea of read receipts. Personally, I hate them with a passion but the good news is that you can turn them off easily in the settings.

Twitter will also display web links as rich link content and give a preview in messages. Twitter seems to finally think that the messaging section of their platform should behave like a normal standard messenger (about time!)

Is it too late though? There are a lot of messaging apps and platforms established which allow for communication. Twitter has lagged behind in the messaging field so how can they break through when they are only offering such a basic experience?

Time will tell if people will be more inclined to use Twitter as a messaging tool, however for now there are some much needed improvements which will at the very least improve the experience.