Here’s A Radical Suggestion: If You DM Me, I Should Be Able To DM You

(I’m pretty sure this isn’t my idea. I’m confident somebody else suggested it to me, possibly within the comments on this very blog, but I can’t locate the source. If it was you, let me know and I’ll gladly give credit.)

I’ve written previously about the inequity of the direct message system on Twitter.

If I’m following you, the system gives you permission to direct message me. However, unless you’re also following me back, I cannot direct message you.
That’s right – I can’t even reply. I’m not afforded the same level of privacy as you. So, I have to reply openly, exposing your secrets, which makes the private messaging system a bit of a farce.

Here’s an idea: keep things as they are, but if I receive a direct message from somebody who I follow but who is not following me, I can reply to that direct message.

And only that direct message. Just the one.

You DM me, I can DM you back. You DM me again, I can DM you back again. And so on.

You get one shot – once you’ve clicked send on that direct message reply, the system ticks a box and you’re done.

(Of course, if we’re both following each other there would be no limits on when and how often we can send a private message. This is for folks who haven’t been followed back.)

I like this for three reasons:

  1. It removes the one-way advantage the Twitter elite have over everybody else
  2. There would be no need to respond publically to a private message
  3. It can’t be abused

This would also get around the ‘I wanted to send you a direct message, but you’re not following me‘ dilemma. When this happens, you could open a private conversation by initiating the discourse from your end. This provides further security.

I can’t see any major negatives. Can you?