Well that was odd, Twitter.
July 11, 2011
Twitter’s just changed the rules on DMs. Used to be, you could only DM someone who was following you. This seemed sensible, and pretty good proof against the kind of nutsoid stalking which makes you feel that the perp is right now ringing your front doorbell, and will shortly get down on hands and knees to screech your name through your actual letterbox, leaving it smeared with mascara tears and spittle. This kind of stalkiness can make you feel all upset and vulnerable, even though you know it’s just the internet; and I suspect that goes for slebs with vast followings, as well as we normals.
So this latest move, which allows any old body to DM any verified account, seems, you know, counterintuitive. Truth be told, celebrities, whether high or low of brow, are the glue which bind us to Twitter. Stands to reason that the higher the follower count, the bigger the cohort of crazies that follow, and the more stuffed to the gills your email is going to be with ‘Message from Twitter: A. Dangerous-Loner sent you a direct message.’ And, oh look, here’s Google+, with its novel capacity to control and contain what you give and receive, through the medium of circles. Smells like a celebrity exodus (I call it a ‘celebrexodus’, for the snap of it; and I’d like you to join me in that).
Twitter, though, is probably not anxiously wringing its hankie. Because brands, who also have verified accounts, would like customers to have the means to make complaints a bit less loudly and publicly. They’d really like that, because this social media thing can get awkward quite quickly, and their jaws are already all ache-y with smiling and pretending to chillax. And Twitter is betting, probably quite sensibly, that its future lies with brands.