Twitter has added the ability to Direct Message with more than one person at a time, meaning you can now have private group conversations on the service. They’re also rolling out the ability to shoot video, as well as edit and share it directly from the mobile Twitter app. Both of these represent Twitter moving to build into its product engagement opportunities previously left on the table, or to other apps.
The Group DM function means Twitter more closely approximates an instant messaging app, and the feature allows people to start a group DM with followers, regardless of whether those followers follow each other or not. If anything, this means that you might be more careful about who you follow, since those people can now essentially rope you into conversations at any given time.
Ultimately a group DM, which can include up to twenty people, offers Tweet sharing and supports emoji, might act as a way to keep users within Twitter’s own network. An interesting or provocative Tweet before today might’ve prompted a sidebar, leading others to discuss something via a more tightly-controlled group setting in something like WhatsApp or even iMessage. Now, that sidebar can happen on Twitter, too.
The video feature allows users to record videos up to 30 seconds in length right from the app, and allows you to edit them inline with basic cuts. iPhone app users will be able to upload from the camera roll as well, while Android users will have to wait for a later update to get that functionality. Here’s an example of what the native video feature looks like when posted with Twitter:
Native video might mean people resort to using the Twitter-owned Vine less for sharing videos, but again the focus here is to keep users within the service, and provide an experience that not only offers inline content viewing, but also ensures users don’t pop off to another destination and potentially forget to return. Twitter’s video content restrictions (30 second limit) also seem to be a good length for advertisers looking for new ways to reach audiences on the service.