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Twitter begins rolling out 10,000-character DMs

August 13, 2015

twitter-10k-dms

When it come to instant messaging over the Internet, Twitter is admitting that short and tweet just doesn’t cut it anymore.

As was widely reported yesterday (Wednesday, August 12), the micro-messaging service, famous for its short “tweets”, has begun the weeks-long process of allowing all its users, across all platforms world-wide, to send each other direct messages (DMs) up to 10,000 characters long.

The move breaks Twitter’s SMS-inspired 140 character message limit, but only for private DMs. It also puts another nail in the coffin of SMS texting and further undermines the relevance of email.

The move is seen as Twitter’s answer to the immense popularity of instant messaging apps, such as WhatsApp and Facebook’s Messenger, neither of which place limits on text message length.

Facebook currently has about 1.5 billion active monthly users (AMUs) and it’s Messenger app alone has 600 or 700 million AMUs. WhatsApp says that it has 800 million AMUs worldwide.

Twitter as a whole is estimated to have only 304 million active monthly users.

Longer DMs take a long time to roll out

DM140_LaunchGIF_497

The short GIF used to announce the new longer DMs. — Twitter

Back in June, it was widely reported that Twitter would increase the maximum length of direct messages to 10,000 characters beginning on July 1 but it didn’t happen.

It wasn’t until yesterday, in a blog post entitled “Removing the 140-character limit from Direct Messages“, that Twitter could finally say that the change was actually underway:

“If you’ve checked your Direct Messages today, you may have noticed that something’s missing: the limitation of 140 characters. You can now chat on (and on) in a single Direct Message, and likely still have some characters left over”.

Or not, as it turned out.

Some 24 hours later I still couldn’t send DMs over 140 characters from the Twitter website and one of my Twitter followers was unable to send me a DM exceeding 140 characters either from her Twitter phone app or desktop browser.

In Twitter’s blog  post, Sachin Agarwal explained that the roll-out would begin with Twitter’s Android and iOS apps, twitter.com, TweetDeck and Twitter for Mac (in that order I guess) and continue to spread worldwide over the next few weeks across all platforms.

Users will need to update their Twitter apps before they will be able to DM novelettes to their friends and sending and receiving DMs via SMS will still be limited.

Agarwal was quick to add that the change did not apply to public tweets, which would continue to be limited to 140 characters as always.

So Twitter will probably continue to be best known for its impossibly short 140 character tweet limit; continue to be something akin to the public restroom wall of the Internet and probably continue to lose money, while Facebook will continue to be known for being both popular and profitable. Click the image to enlarge it.

From → Android, Apple, Internet

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