by Brent Dirks
October 17, 2013
Twitter is in the midst of overhauling its seldom-used direct messaging feature. And according to AllThingsD, the social networking giant is also considering whether to launch a standalone messaging app. The company, which has recently announced plans for an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange, has already made some small changes. Starting earlier this week, Twitter users can opt-in to receive direct messages from any follower. Currently, both users must be following each other to send DMs. That’s just one part of the overall change that Twitter is considering:
But Twitter’s new vision for direct messages will go further. It has kicked around the idea of launching a standalone direct-messaging application separate from the Twitter app, according to three people familiar with the matter. It is unclear, however, what form the final revamp of direct messages will take.Along with meeting employees from the popular MessageMe app, Twitter has also been following SnapChat, which has rocketed up the App Store charts:
Twitter paid specific attention to Snapchat, the massively popular ephemeral-messaging service, during its rapid ascent to popular use. Twitter even ran one of its own surveys, according to sources familiar with the matter, finding that people are indeed using Snapchat to engage more with others. And one of Twitter’s updates to Android tablet apps earlier this month borrows heavily from Snapchat’s in-message illustration features.Twitter is also reportedly preparing a big update to its official app. Last month, news leaked that the revamped app will look decidedly different. Instead of the four tabs on the bottom of the screen, users will be greeted with different content-specific streams to swipe through. TV-related tweets will also apparently take center stage in the new app. Twitter, NBCUniversal, and Comcast recently teamed up to launch a feature that will let some users change the channel directly from a tweet. The idea of a standalone Twitter direct messaging app really doesn’t excite me much – especially since the only DMs I usually receive are malware or automated junk. But Twitter is under pressure to expand its reach to please Wall Street, so anything is possible.