Twitter removes 140 Character Limit on Direct Messages

Last month, this announcement from Twitter appeared in its community forums:

Sachin Agarwal, the DM Product Manager @ Twitter announced:

Sachin Agarwal tweet

The change is due to occur on an undisclosed date sometime later this month, but already, people are excited. This is what Phil Blum, Time Warner Cable’s Senior Manager of Social Media Customer Care, said in response:

Phil Blum tweet

Here’s why this will matter to businesses: Twitter remains on the forefront of real-time communication within social media.  But even in real-time, distractions, connection issues, and myriad other things delay the delivery and consumption of each 140 character morsel.  So, a quick, four message exchange can potentially take upwards of five to seven minutes…an eternity in the world of Social Media.

The exchange could take even longer when you consider that prior to this past April, the business would first have to ask the user to follow the brand before a DM exchange could take place.

Without that hurdle – and with 10,000 characters available for each DM – (more than 170 times the old limit !), a customer issue that once would be resolved in a 20-minute exchange could potentially be resolved in half the time.

For brands, this change rounds out a series of changes that help position Twitter as an even better solution for brand interaction with consumers, especially in the customer service arena.  No longer will frustrated customers need to send three or four messages to communicate their frustration. In short, this will be a win for brands, looking to improve their overall perception on social media, and for consumers, wanting things to happen immediately so they can get back to their days.

Today, 51% of consumers perceive brands that engage with them on social media for customer service issues more favorably overall.* Add in the fact that just under 50% of consumers expect a response from a brand within one hour,** and the implication is clear: every opportunity to optimize each interaction has the potential to lead to a happier customer and a potential brand advocate.

* 2014 State of MultiChannel Customer Service Report, Parature

** Edison Research