How to Handle Twitter’s Recent DM Failures

Have you been receiving a lot of “we apologize for the inconvenience” messages from Twitter recently? Last month Twitter ran an experiment that allowed direct messages to be sent to any Twitter user, regardless of if you were following one another. This was an exciting prospect for big brands who were hoping cut down on the time it took to contact users. However, Twitter has now done away with this option and has continued with an onslaught of ‘experiments,’ which most of the time feel like bugs.  Now the newest bug seems to be the inability to add a URL in your direct message. Below we’ll outline a workaround for this new issue.

What seems to be happening is that links, despite if they’re bit.ly, ow.ly, po.st, tinyURL, is.gd, or the entire link, are not being sent through direct messages for some Twitter accounts. There is no clear pattern for which accounts this affects and which are able to send links within a DM. It also appears that some domains like twitter.com and techcrunch.com are whitelisted.

When you try to send a DM with links, this is the message that greets you:

One month ago, Mat Smith (@thatmatsmith) on Engadget wrote about Twitter’s direct message issues for unverified users. However, the problems seem to have sporadically spread to every type of user, regardless of their connection with the receiver. Smith linked his readers to the Twitter support page for those who are having technical difficulties with their direct message feature. The same exact statement that was up one month ago is still there.

Why is This Happening?

Twitter’s two sentence message doesn’t give us much information about the problem and isn’t helpful in setting expectations for those of us who rely on this feature. That said, Twitter’s representatives have made it very clear that this is a temporary ‘technical issue.’ Our sense is that Twitter is working on some larger changes to its direct messaging system.

Historically, Twitter has been very focused on their public messaging functionality. There was even a period of time when Twitter was considering removing private messaging completely. As social media has evolved, successful networks like What’sApp and SnapChat have proven that there is a need for private messaging. As a result, we believe Twitter is working on rolling out a much more robust direct messaging system. There have even been rumors that Twitter may be considering acquiring SnapChat after they recently declined Facebook’s $3B offer.

Recommended Workaround

For those of us who rely on using links in direct messages daily, this issue has become a serious frustration. Here’s what we suggest doing today in order to get around the problem.

We’ve discovered that direct messages work when the link is a Twitter URL. This means you can publish a Tweet publicly with the original URL that you had wanted to DM, and then link to the public Tweet instead of directly to the outside page. To do this, publish the Tweet, then click on the time stamp (that’s the little number on the right at the top of the Tweet that tells you how long ago it was Tweeted.) Once you click on that it’ll take you to the Tweet by itself and the URL will look something like this: https://twitter.com/aseemb/status/403147539031269376

From there, you copy and paste that link into your direct message. So far, we’ve had no issues with those sending. But wait, there’s an added benefit to this! By linking directly to your Tweet, you have the extra 140 characters to convince your receivers they want to click on your link, plus a pretty visual to go along with it.

I know a lot of you have been exasperated with these DM issues –  we definitely have. However, the solution above, while it’s an added step, offers relief. By copy and pasting the Twitter link directly into your DM, you are not only able to send a message that works, but also one that allows you to entice your receiver with an added 140 characters and a strong visual.

Have you found another workaround? We would love to hear it, let us know in the comments section!

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