Since its inception, Twitter has been a very public forum. But now, Twitter wants to be a player in private messages.
On Tuesday, Twitter began rolling out a new Message button that you will see underneath each Tweet on your Timeline, right next to the Retweet and heart icons. Tapping on the Message button launches a Direct Message to share that Tweet privately with another Twitter user. The new feature will be available to both iOS and Android users by updating the Twitter app.
According to Twitter product manager Somas Thyagaraja, this new messaging button stemmed from user-feedback after the number of Twitter DMs grew by 60 percent in 2015. In just the latter half of last year, the number of DMs with Tweets shared privately grew even more, by 200 percent.
“With all this interest, we’ve also heard from many of you that it could be easier to share a Tweet using Direct Message,” Thyagaraja wrote on the company blog. “So now—in just a few taps—you can share unique Twitter content from your timeline right into your private conversation.”
Why this matters: In the last year, Twitter has been consistently releasing new features to amp up its Direct Messaging appeal. In August, the company opened the floodgates by allowing users to send DMs that were way longer than 140 characters. Way, way longer. Since then, Twitter DMs have gotten GIF and emoji support, as well as the option to launch a private group message.
With these nonstop updates, it’s surprising that this particular feature has not come out sooner. The Messaging button is not unlike Instagram’s private photo-sharing button that was launched in September. Similarly, you can share an Instagram photo in a private thread.