Yesterday Twitter unleashed its long-awaited group DM feature. You can finally have private multi-person conversations on Twitter.
While many of those discussions will be quick one-off chats about various subjects, like where to meet for lunch or which sports team will win Super Bowl (go sports team!), the new feature opens up a new way for Twitter users to interact without having to sign up for another social network or actually be friends on Facebook.
Groups like the one started by Daily Dot writer Selena Larson probably started popping up as soon as people got access to the new feature (it’s rolling out over the next few weeks). I know a few ladies that joined the group and while I’m not privy to the conversations (no guys allowed), the ladies that are partaking seem to enjoy the ability to chat within a platform that use all day without having to deal with unwanted individuals jumping into their conversation.
Maybe they’re all friends on Facebook. But maybe they’re not. The bar to adding a friend on Twitter is much lower than Facebook. Facebook is for family and close friends, but Twitter is different.
You follow people on Twitter not because you know them necessarily, but because you find them interesting. Maybe they share the same attitudes about topics you hold dear to your heart. Maybe you’re a fan of their work. Sometimes you talk back to those people and they talk back to you and conversation happens and OMG, that person you thought was unapproachable is talking to me right now (you might screw that up by the way).
That’s the magic of Twitter. It brings you together with people you may not have otherwise talked too. Now you can add that Twitter friend to a room with others and have a conversation without worry of others jumping into the conversation.
In the 1990s I was a huge fan of Aol and IRC chatrooms. I lived in a small town and these chat rooms introduced me to people all over the world. Artists, hackers, criminals and just regular people that happened to have a modem attached to their computer all chatted until the sun came up.
Invariably I would end up in the same rooms talking to the same people night after night. We weren’t friends per say, but we chatted about topics we cared about.
Then the Internet changed. With Friendster, MySpace and finally Facebook, it wasn’t about making new friends, it was about finding old friends and connecting digitally to current friends. Your connections expand but your circle of friends doesn’t.
Twitter is different. It expands your network with new people that you might never meet in real life. Adding a place on the network for people to talk privately as a group, that’s huge. I’ve started my own secret groups. You might start your own secret group. Maybe you’ll keep it under wraps, maybe you’ll shout it to the world.
Whatever your plan, it’s a nice quiet place to chat with “friends” and I only wish Twitter had done this sooner.