Posts Tagged ‘direct message’
Take Your Twitter Efforts to the Next Level
If you’ve ever wanted to let Lady Gaga (@LadyGaga) know how much her music moves you, you likely know that you can’t simply whip off a Direct Message to any Twitter user you like. Lady Gaga would have to be following you in order for your message to get to her – and I bet she’s not.
Enter Twitgram. It’s described as a “half step off of Twitter”, and it allows any user to send any other user a private message – no 140 character limit, and no restrictions based on who is following whom.
There is as new Direct Message (DM) scam going around Twitter, which will try to steal your password. If you have received a DM today commenting on your weight, do not click the link.
We have more details on how to avoid the scam – and how to prevent it from happening to you in the future – below.
Wow… I don’t know of many other scandals that could have been prevented with a simple one-character change on a text message, but that’s exactly how Anthony Weiner got caught with his pants down (sorry, that’s my freebie, I’ll keep it above the belt from now on). The embattled representative accidentally shared a picture of his nether-regions on Twitter for all the world to see, and all because he didn’t understand the difference between a DM and a mention or reply.
(I’m pretty sure this isn’t my idea. I’m confident somebody else suggested it to me, possibly within the comments on this very blog, but I can’t locate the source. If it was you, let me know and I’ll gladly give credit.)
I’ve written previously about the inequity of the direct message system on Twitter.
If I’m following you, the system gives you permission to direct message me. However, unless you’re also following me back, I cannot direct message you.
That’s right – I can’t even reply. I’m not afforded the same level of privacy as you. So, I have to reply openly, exposing your secrets, which makes the private messaging system a bit of a farce.
Here’s an idea: keep things as they are, but if I receive a direct message from somebody who I follow but who is not following me, I can reply to that direct message.
And only that direct message. Just the one.
You DM me, I can DM you back. You DM me again, I can DM you back again. And so on.
You get one shot – once you’ve clicked send on that direct message reply, the system ticks a box and you’re done.
(Of course, if we’re both following each other there would be no limits on when and how often we can send a private message. This is for folks who haven’t been followed back.)
I like this for three reasons:
- It removes the one-way advantage the Twitter elite have over everybody else
- There would be no need to respond publically to a private message
- It can’t be abused
This would also get around the ‘I wanted to send you a direct message, but you’re not following me‘ dilemma. When this happens, you could open a private conversation by initiating the discourse from your end. This provides further security.
I can’t see any major negatives. Can you?
Things are beginning to change, but for a long time – and I still hear this from certain quarters – one of the main reasons given as to why you should always follow everybody back who follows you is because it allows them to contact you privately via direct message (DM).
To this I say: poppycock. (And I don’t use that term lightly.)
As if that’s ever been any kind of perk. The DM feature on Twitter is and always has been broken. There’s no way to search or filter messages, it’s awkward to delete (certainly in bulk) and it doesn’t come with any kind of spam guard.
Why, then, would we encourage the use of a system that is so clearly flawed?
Moreover, while Twitter is fantastic for quick, punchy exchanges of information and thoughts, it doesn’t stand up too well when you want to have a long, detailed, drawn-out conversation with one or more people. It becomes a little awkward sharing all those words in bite-sized, 140-character chunks. People speak out of turn, it’s easy to get confused, and it quickly becomes messy and problematic.
When I find myself in any kind of extended dialogue on Twitter, I always rapidly come to the same conclusion, which I readily propose to the other user(s) – can we continue this via email?
Email is really good at the things at which Twitter is bad. It excels in long, detailed, drawn-out conversations. (And conversely, it isn’t so hot at real-time exchanges of information). Email allows YOU to write a longer, more thorough message, and lets ME quote from your message and respond accordingly.
There’s no real reason why direct messages should be limited to the same number of characters as a standard tweet, but they are. If and when Twitter decides to completely revamp the private message system and opens it up to a fully-featured experience that allows for broader conversations, then the argument that follows should be reciprocated (assuming, of course, that they are still relevant) will have a lot more weight.
Until that happens, direct messages are essentially just a private way to share a tweet. And unless that tweet absolutely needs to be private – and your latest get rich quick scheme doesn’t really qualify, as you’ve already sent it to 10,000 other people – then just contact me using a standard reply.
And for those times when your message is for my attention only and/or requires a lot more breathing space than that provided by the 140-characters of a standard tweet, then please:Â contact me by email.
I’m very happy to look at (and maybe review) your Twitter client. I’d be thrilled to test-drive your Twitter app. Absolutely I’d be interested in speaking at your conference. And I’ll certainly help you or your brand find a better way to do business on Twitter.
Go ahead, send me an email. I promise you I do read and (where required) reply to every single one.
(Unless, that is, it’s spam or contains the ranting and ravings of a disturbed person. That kind of stuff is far better suited, and significantly more prevalent, within the direct message system. Especially if you follow everybody back.)