More sliding into DMs than ever before as Twitter adds group messaging

Twitter's move away from the stream continues apace with new mass direct messaging and video features.

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There was a time when Twitter was an unfiltered stream of tweets from those users chose to follow - that time has long passed.

Today sees the announcement of two new features for the microblogging site: native video messaging (no longer is it necessary to post a clip from YouTube, Vine, Instagram or other site), and group direct messaging (at a stroke dramatically increasing the likelihood that something intimate and private is accidentally broadcast to a wider audience).

Notably, the new video capability is only available in the official mobile Twitter apps, while Tweetdeck (a third-party enterprise-level client owned by Twitter) is the only app to declare support for group DMs. This isn't surprising, because Twitter has spent much of the last few years slowly killing off third-party apps, either quickly (by removing API access) or slowly (by not rolling out all new features).

Some of those new features - like paid-for, sponsored tweets inserting themselves into user timelines, or "suggested" tweets from someone a user doesn't follow - have had a poor reception from the most hardcore users, who tend to be those who use the site the most, and so the fact that they don't appear in, say, iOS app Tweetbot has been a kind of blessing in disguise. However, there are other problems (Tweetdeck still doesn't natively support gifs!) that make those apps feel deliberately neglected in order to, some would argue, push users towards the ad-supported main webpage and app. 

That way, instead of angering a huge core userbase with a sudden app closedown, it's a more subtle shift away from the "old", losing-money-over-hand-and-fist Twitter and towards the new, listed-company-with-shareholders-to-please model.

Ian Steadman is a staff science and technology writer at the New Statesman. He is on Twitter as @iansteadman.

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