While your public tweets and replies will still need to fall within Twitter’s 140 character limit, the caps are now off when it comes to direct messages (DMs).
Twitter announced Wednesday that it has lifted the 140 character limit on direct messages, which are the private conversations you can have with another Twitter user on the Twitter platform. The change began rolling out immediately on Twitter’s Android and iOS apps, Twitter.com, TweetDeck and Twitter for Mac. Other platforms will get the update over the next few weeks, but DMs sent or received via SMS will still have the character cap.
“While Twitter is largely a public experience, direct messages let you have private conversations about the memes, news, movements, and events that unfold on Twitter,” wrote Christopher Doyle, director of media partnerships for Twitter Canada, in a blog post that wasn’t limited to 140 characters. “Each of the hundreds of millions of Tweets sent across Twitter every day is an opportunity for you to spark a conversation about what’s happening in your world.”
The change follows a number of other adjustments Twitter has made to DMs recently, including the ability to create groups and the ability to decide to accept DMs from anyone, whether you follow them or not, and the ability to reply to anyone that sends you a DM whether or not they follow you.
“Today’s change is another big step towards making the private side of Twitter even more powerful and fun,” said Doyle.
It should also be a helpful change for marketers and customer service agents. With Twitter becoming a place where people go to gripe about their experience with a brand, it has also become an important place for brand managers to step in and try to remedy customer problems before they escalate into a public relations concern. This is best handled by DM, but the rules in the past meant brand managers first had to publicly ask the customer to follow them, and then the pair were limited to 140 characters per message as the customer tried to explain the problem and the brand manager tried to offer a resolution.
While DMs are getting longer, Doyle stressed 140 characters remains the limit for regular tweets.
“Tweets will continue to be the 140 characters they are today, rich with commentary as well as photos, videos, links, Vines, gifs, and emoji,” wrote Doyle.