Twitter Lifts 140-Character Limit for Direct Messages

SAN FRANCISCO — Twitter this week said it will no longer require Direct Messages to be in 140 characters or less.

In a message on the social media platform’s developer forum, Twitter Product Manager Sachin Agarwal said the new maximum character count will top off at 10,000, which will instantly turn Direct Messages into a hardy messaging system when it launches.

However, tweets on Twitter will continue to be the 140 characters that they are today.

Twitter is used heavily by online adult entertainment marketers and performers, particularly because it offers a platform that, for the most part, isn't censored.

Lauren MacEwen, an adult entertainment social media expert who operates, told XBIZ that the news is a big development for Twitter.

"It is changing it from a quick message platform to one that is much more robust," she said. "The longer DMs will allow people to do much more in terms of providing customer service through Twitter. The limited character DMs really prevented brands from doing any real customer service, always having to direct people back to their site.

"The problem with that is that many people seek out customer service on Twitter because they have gone through the traditional routes and were not satisfactorily helped. So directing people back into the queue can be frustrating.

"If your customer service now has the ability to take care of customer problems, without having to leave the platform, it is better for the overall customer care experience," she said.

MacEwen said that the new policy from an adult content point of view opens up some interesting opportunities regarding relationship building between a brand and a consumer.

"The combination of longer DMs and group messaging is powerful," MacEwen said. "Now you can use it to send your newsletter content and erotic stories. You can offer exclusive content — text, newsletter, special member information, etc. — through your DMs. Of course for people to receive those, they have to follow you, thus giving them more incentive to follow you and therefore growing your network.  

"Because you are able to keep the conversation in Twitter, instead of always directing it off platform via email or alternative website, it is going to open up the potential for a lot of business discussion and opportunity."

Agarwal’s announcement this week was primarily directed for developers so they can update their APIs to accept messages longer than 140 characters if their products have a Twitter DM functionality. 

“We recommend taking the following actions in preparation: Review the new API additions, update your GET requests so you will be able to receive the full length of DM text and adjust your app UI to accommodate longer DM text,” Agarwal said.

The new API additions are available here.

“We encourage you to test and deploy the above changes in advance, but you won’t be able to send longer DMs until we launch in July,” he said.

In the coming weeks, Agarwal said Twitter will include directions on how to test these changes, as well as a more specific launch date.