Twitter's Direct Messages feature is a way to take a conversation private and away from the public eye; it's often used when a customer complains of poor service and the business asks the customer to direct message them with the details, but keeping the issue out of the public eye. One of the quirks of Twitter is that Direct Messaging was only available if two Twitter users followed one another but today, Twitter has announced a change with this as now users can direct message one another even if they don't follow. In Twitter's words, this means that "it's even easier for you to communicate one-to-one or with a chosen group of people, anywhere in the world." Individual accounts are able to modify how Direct Messaging works and may opt in to receiving, effectively, unsolicited Direct Messages. As part of the changes, there's a new Direct Message button on the Android and iOS profile pages screen for those users who have enabled non-follow direct messaging support.
Twitter have said that they are rolling these changes out starting from now and the idea is that it will make it easier to keep up with individuals, companies, businesses and groups around the world. There will be ways to block incoming direct messages too, plus Twitter have other plans on how to improve Direct Messages too. Plus the service is opt-in by default, which means if you have a Twitter account and you don't make any changes, you cannot receive unsolicited direct messages until you change your account settings. We've no word of how quickly the change to accounts will spread across the world.
Today's improvement to the Twitter Direct Messaging service and the promise of more to follow follows the global trend of messaging becoming more and more important. Twitter are perhaps late to the game, but it is conceivable that the microblogging service could be improving their messaging services in order to enhance the appeal of the application compared with Facebook Messenger, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp, Kik and many other instant messaging competitors. Perhaps the social network is planning to include voice notes or as part of the next upgrade to the Twitter messaging infrastructure?