Twitter gives users the option to receive direct messages from all followers

15 Oct 2013

Up until now, Twitter only allowed direct messages between accounts following each other. Today, the social network begins rolling out the option to welcome messages from any Twitter user.

To explain the situation as it was, I could only receive direct messages from followers of my account whom I also follow. Vice-versa, I could only send messages to users I follow who also follow me.

The follow-back issue can sometimes hamper discreet communication between parties on the social network, but now users can opt-in for a more open connection.

According to The Verge, the new feature has been rolling out for the past week via a ‘tick the box’ option in account settings. By ticking the box, users can receive direct messages from all of their followers, regardless of whether they follow them back.

The feature remains optional, which is reasonable when you think that perhaps US President Barack Obama doesn’t want to open up his inbox to some 38m followers, and more everyday users may not want to open theirs up to possible spam, either.

The feature will, of course, be useful to those in the media who often turn to Twitter as a feed of breaking news and also to contact key figures involved in a story. With no need for a follow-back to send a direct message, this feature will make approaching possible interviewees and sources that bit easier, and more private.

It’s also useful for users that want to get in touch with brands and services on Twitter, particularly since so many like to use this platform to voice their complaints.

Elaine Burke is the host of For Tech’s Sake, a co-production from Silicon Republic and The HeadStuff Podcast Network. She was previously the editor of Silicon Republic.