Twitter rolls out private photos in direct messages

DMs get a little more personal: Twitter announced users can now send photo direct messages, plus the social media network added easier navigation to messages on the mobile app. 

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Twitter continues to grow, partly on the strength of a swath of new mobile applications.

Tweeters no longer have to turn to Snapchat or Facebook to send private photos – Twitter’s new app update lets users take and send pictures away from the public feed.

According to a Twitter blog post, the social media company's new app allows users to send photo direct messages, or DMs, in addition to easier DM navigation. This marks another step toward easier photo communication, which is becoming increasingly necessary in a quick message-oriented world.

Previously on the Twitter app, if users uploaded a photo it had to be shared on the public timeline – DMs were reserved for 140-character private messages. In the new app, adding a photo is now included in the options for sending a message. Users can also view direct-messaged photos on the Web version of Twitter.

Navigation to the DM app has been improved as well. Now users can click the “messages” button at the bottom of the app to navigate to their DM inbox, making DMs “just one tap away from wherever you are on Twitter,” according to Jeremy Gordon, director of product engineering at Twitter in the announcement blog post.

It appears that Twitter has been looking to move toward private messages for a while. At a PandoMonthly event in San Francisco last week, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo said DMs are a part of Twitter’s “town square” mentality.

“I think of private messaging as an important component of this public real time conversational distributed platform that Twitter is — this global town square. And it turns out that in this town square, you want to be able to have an aside with someone,” Costolo says, according to Wired. “I think the direct messaging, private messaging function of Twitter is an absolutely vital piece of being that global town square and bolstering those four pillars of public, real time, conversational and distributed.”

This move comes on the heels of a shift toward improved messaging capabilities by some big players in tech. Facebook recently updated its messaging for mobile features, BlackBerry rolled out a new BlackBerry Messenger that combines chatting and social networking, and Instagram is expected to roll out a private messaging option soon.

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