Oh, Twitter. Our favorite micro-messaging/link-sharing network is trying so hard to be all things to all people. Just ask Dick Costolo.
Did anyone outside the advertising industry ask for auto-play videos? Definitely not.
The latest change to the service concerns the elimination of the 140-character limit on direct messages. In this week’s edition of Pitch, Please, Seth Fiegerman of Mashable joked that “That sound you hear is just PR people rejoicing about their newfound power to pitch you on Twitter.”
We hope that joke wasn’t serious. Here’s why:
That is a screenshot of a spam message sent to ourselves and several other bloggers along with dozens of other people who we don’t have the time to research.
Twitter mentions that are really just someone crying “pay attention to meeeee!” are annoying enough–but this is like the world’s worst group text in that you have to actively EXIT the conversation. Nobody enjoys that.
Yes, the new limitless DM feature could be a way to send longer messages to press contacts…but only if one has an established relationship with those contacts to the degree that such behavior would be acceptable.
Otherwise, it’s far worse than the organizations that choose to “mention” us when tweeting their press releases. Emails can be ignored, but Twitter updates are more likely to get someone’s attention–and while this may sound good for PR, it is not. A truly savvy media relations specialist should know whether individual contacts accept DM pitches (Farhad Manjoo of The New York Times, for example mentions that fact in his bio).
If you’re thinking of cold-pitching someone via the new DM feature, we must warn you: DON’T DO IT. In that context, it is quite possibly the most exasperating Twitter feature to date.