HOWTO: Delete All (Or Lots) Of Your Direct Messages On Twitter… Including The Ones You've Sent

I’ve observed a few times on here about how one of the most lacking features on Twitter, Seesmic Desktop, TweetDeck – or anywhere else, for that matter – is the ability to mass-delete direct messages.

Once you’ve been on Twitter for a reasonable period of time, thanks to auto-messaging and genuine DMs from your friends and followers you’ll very quickly build up a large list. This is fine until you decide you want to delete some or all of them. Twitter only allows you to do this on a per message basis. If you have a lot of them, this will take forever, and the most likely result is that you won’t bother.

If you head on over to this link, you can take advantage of a bookmarklet called DM Whacker. The software is beta and comes with no warranty, but I’ve tried it and it does work.

DM Whacker is easy to use. Simply drag the link on the site to your bookmarks page and then open your Direct Messages in Twitter. Click the bookmarklet you just created and select whether you want to delete all direct messages or just those from a certain user. You can even filter out select direct messages using the advanced options.

Note that any messages you delete from your sent mailbox will also be deleted from the recipient’s inbox. The same applies for any messages you have received. In other words, the messages will be completely erased on either side (sender and recipient).

Give it a try. Note that sometimes limitations from Twitter’s API can lead to the software not working, but so far that has only happened to me once.

While I’m hoping Twitter will make the direct message system a lot easier to manage in their next major update, DM Whacker handles the job nicely for now.

UPDATE: This still works. I last cleared my DM inbox on June 26, 2009, at 1620 GMT. Note that it is not an instant process – you have to leave it for some time to clear all your messages. This can take a while, and longer if you clear your outbox as well. Start it up, then go make yourself a cup of coffee. 🙂

As said, it works, but I’ve noticed a glitch, which may be on Twitter’s end. My inbox is now empty, but says I have 329 direct messages in there. Dabr and Seesmic Desktop both say I have zero.

If you wish to monitor deletions, open your direct message in a new tab/window and routinely refresh. Do not refresh the tab/window where the bookmarklet is in operation.

For Chrome users – and this may work in Firefox too – it’s just as easy to open your direct message inbox in a tab and drag the bookmarket on top of it. Works perfectly. 🙂