Twitter’s looking to facilitate more private message interactions in its app by adding a new DM icon to tweets for some users.
As you can see in this example, the new DM response icon, now available to some users on iOS, provides a quick and easy way to respond to a tweet author in one-tap, direct from any tweet.
Which feels familiar…
As you can see in this example, Twitter actually already tried this back in 2016, with a DM icon built into your direct response options.
At that time, Twitter was working to lean into increasing DM activity.
As reported by Fast Company:
“Twitter says DM activity grew by 60% in 2015, and that sharing tweets through DMs has increased by 200% in the past six months alone.”
So it made sense to try to maximize this element – but that push didn’t last long, with Twitter eventually going back to its regular share button, which provides various options for sharing.
Now, Twitter’s trying both – though it did also tell me that the two functionalities (the one tested in 2016 and this new version) are not the same.
As explained by Twitter:
“Our team is continually looking for ways to make conversations more accessible for everyone on Twitter. We are currently exploring new ways to give people more control over their conversations with private replies, a feature that allows you to respond to an author’s Tweet directly via their DMs. With this added control, people can continue the conversation off the timeline if they don’t feel comfortable doing so publicly.”
Twitter says that 2016 iteration enabled people to send a specific public Tweet to any other user ‘for visibility’.
“With this experiment, people can now respond directly to the original Tweet author via DM on their specific Tweet.”
So the initial version enabled you to share a tweet with anyone, while this new test removes out the middle step of selecting who you’re forwarding the tweet to, with the DM response going direct to the tweet author, catering to a different type of engagement.
Though functionally it’s pretty much the same thing, it’s just that in this version, you get both the direct DM option and the regular share button on each tweet, so you can either DM the tweet author direct, then and there, or you can share it in a DM thread with somebody else.
That could be interesting for brands looking to make direct contact with customers in the app, with a more focused option to get them to make contact from your tweets. It could also, as Twitter likely hopes, be a quick way to double-check your friends and their opinions, by sending them a quick, private note on tweets that could be deemed offensive. I mean, you can do that anyway, but this is designed for quicker messaging engagement, which could help to facilitate more private chats.
Though functionally, it doesn’t add a heap, and it has pretty much been done before.
But maybe it’s valuable, and maybe Twitter users are warm to the idea of being able to directly spark more private conversations more often.
It’s a small-scale test for now, on iOS only, and it’ll be interesting to see what Twitter finds out as a result.