Twitter's Direct Message revamp has shades of Snapchat

Twitter, fresh from its IPO debut, seems bent on adding as many new features into its product as possible.

Twitter, fresh from its IPO debut, seems bent on adding as many new features into its product as possible. With a major update for its mobile apps, Twitter has revamped not just its user interface but also its Direct Messaging feature.

If you’ve only just tuned in to the Twitter wave, the Direct Messaging or DM function is where two users – who’re following each other – can send each other a private message and have a conversation. With today’s update to Twitter for iOS and Twitter for Android, you will not just be able to send each other messages but also photos.

 Twitter's Direct Message revamp has shades of Snapchat

DM gets a boost


So Twitter DMs finally have the ability to send each other images. We wonder what took the micro-blogging website so long, but at least you will not need to resort to sending each other Imgur links with photos any more. The sad bit is that, for now, you will only be able to send these images as DMs only using the mobile app version of Twitter. You cannot send images using Twitter for web. However, you can still view these images on the browser version of Twitter. Head on to the DM tab, click on the camera button, choose an image or just click a new one, add effects and send. It's as simple as that.



The feature is only going to go on to aid more conversation on Twitter, albeit at a more private level. Essentially, now when you want to hold that ultra-secret conversation with someone you follow on Twitter, you can punctuate them with ultra-secret pictures too. Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? The parallel between Twitter’s revamped DM and Snapchat is unmistakable.


Does this revamp open up doors for a standalone DM app?


Snapchat lets you send private images and videos to your friends, and even caption them. The big difference here is that these snaps, self destruct after about 10 seconds. Understandably, this makes Snapchat the perfect tool to send private photos to your friends.

Naturally, this also includes back and forth of NSFW images, fondly termed “sexts”. A lot of young adults, tweens and teenagers alike have taken to using Snapchat, especially since it’s a lot more private than any other platform. The apps popularity has not gone unnoticed. Facebook has especially come under threat from Snapchat’s popularity. At one point, there was an offer of $3 million from Facebook to purchase Snapchat. Google tried to one-up Facebook with a $4 million offer for the newest messaging sensation, but the app makers were in no mood to relent. Twitter seems to have learnt from the app, though. If private picture messaging is where the world’s at, Twitter has this covered.

This also goes on to add fuel to the rumours about the Twitter's idea for a standalone DM application. Reports over the past couple of months have been pointing at Twitter’s big private messaging plans. Previously considered to be just another feature, the DM has been showered with a lot of attention in the recent past. Twitter, for a brief period of time, introduced a feature where you would be able to receive private messages from any of your followers, regardless of whether or not you follow them.


Snapchat's where the world's at


At the time it seemed like a smooth move by Twitter, putting an end to the follow-back-for-information practice that some Twitter users just used to score more followers. On the other hand, people who genuinely have information to share with you privately were spared the embarrassment of having to send you a tweet asking you to follow back too. Unfortunately, the feature was short-lived. However, it did draw attention to the fact that Twitter had trained its eyes on improving the DM function.

If the trend is anything to go by, Twitter wants to be more than a place for sharing 140-character updates. Of course, there won’t be any destructing messages here like Snapchat. But one thing is clear, it wants a piece of the private messaging pie.

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