Twitter has quietly added a new setting that lets any of your followers send you a direct message (DM). Previously, you had to be following anyone who wanted to DM you in order to receive the DM. It was a simple way of limiting spam and unwanted messages. So, what are the benefits of allowing anyone to DM you?
New Ways To Connect On Twitter
You can now receive DM’s from anyone who follows you, without you following them. Just saw this in settings… pic.twitter.com/Lsf0FR563q
— Jim Connolly (@JimConnolly) October 15, 2013
Only allowing direct messages from people you’re following means you can miss an opportunity to connect with someone who doesn’t feel comfortable publicly responding to your tweets or messaging you. They could ask for your email address, but one of the beautiful things about Twitter is that it can accelerate the process of making new connections. Email can slow that process down, and not everyone gets thrilled about another email landing in their inbox.
This new setting also makes more room for side-conversations that you normally wouldn’t have with some of your followers.
For example, this year I met a brilliant young professor who is as addicted to Scandal as I am. Due to the nature of her work, live-tweeting Scandal isn’t the most beneficial way for her to use Twitter. However, she does engage me via DMs about my live-tweets during the show. If she couldn’t DM me, I wouldn’t even know she watched Scandal.
But what if I was more interested in our Scandal conversations than her tweets? What if she doesn’t tweet that often? Enabling DMs from all followers eliminates the need to even think about these questions.
Twitter Spam Concerns
What about spammers or rogue apps? Ask yourself, “How much spam do I see on Twitter now?” Most of the spam I get via DMs are from people whose accounts have been hacked, not spammers or rogue apps. I don’t see spam very often in my Twitter stream and I highly doubt enabling this new setting will lead to a rise in spam. Twitter is barring links from being sent via DMs from unverified accounts, which should help balance out any potential spam attacks. On the downside, this will be frustrating for many who send links via DM.
What Will You Do?
So what’s stopping you from enabling this option? I’m going to enable it for the rest of October and see it how goes. I don’t expect it to a difference in how I use Twitter. However, I could see this setting shifting my use of DMs into a quick contact form for others to get in touch with me.
Will you enable Twitter’s new DM setting? Why or why not?