Twitter is generally thought of as a versatile platform. You can use it to communicate with friends, keep up with family, reach out to celebrities and CEOs, or simply follow the right accounts and watch the news you care about roll down your feed. Naturally, directly messaging another user would be an integral part of that formula, but since Twitter’s inception, messaging has been missing a few key features that can generally be found in other messaging apps. Twitter is looking to bridge the gap, and announced on Thursday that they will be introducing a few new features to Direct Messages to help alleviate a few pain points that have thus far kept Direct Messages out of par with other services.
For starters, Twitter will be adding read receipts to Direct Messages. This means that you will be able to see when the other person has read your message, though the feature can be turned off. Unless a user opts out, there won’t be any more “Did they get my message?” scenarios, and a read message that’s left unanswered for days can safely be discounted as having been ignored. Along with read receipts, Twitter’s Direct Messages will be getting typing indicators, a feature that has been around on most messengers since the days of AIM. The batch of updates rounds things out by bringing the expanded link previews that are present in Tweets into Direct Messages. Users should see the changes effective immediately.
The new features in Direct Messages brings Twitter’s messaging feature a good bit closer to being on level with competing solutions, but it’s not quite there yet, and Twitter arguably has bigger fish to fry. Replies to the Tweet announcing the new feature suggested that Twitter should be dealing with abuse on the service instead of adding new features, with some Tweets even going as far as to say that read receipts on Direct Messages is a feature that nobody wants. Meanwhile, Twitter is still grappling with serious user growth issues that threaten to rob the service of its independence and force it to find a buyer in order to appease shareholders and keep from going under.