Historically Twitter has struggled to get real definitive traction within the legal community. While there are some players out there who have mastered this tool, the majority of lawyers and law firms are still mystified by how best to leverage it for their business development or marketing needs and integrate it into their social media strategies.
However, something is different on Twitter these days which may make lawyers and law firm take a second look. Specifically on your direct message feed. The social media platform has removed the 140-character limit on its Direct Messages, making it the first aspect of the social media site to be freed of any word limit restrictions. They have started to roll out this new capability globally, with Twitter saying they hope this new feature will allow their users to ‘express themselves’ more freely. Twitter confirmed normal tweets would continue to be limited to the 140-character limit rule.
Twitter is looking to better match capabilities found on competitor sites such as Facebook, WhatsApp and LinkedIn and the changes to Direct Messages is a step in that direction. Direct Messages – or ‘DMs’ – are private messages between users of Twitter’s platform that allow folks to communicate directly with one another in a private manner much like a chat or texting app.
Sachin Agarwal, product manager for Direct Messages at the firm, said: ‘I think that you will definitely see folks being more expressive in general”. The micro-blogging site’s co-founder and interim chief executive Jack Dorsey recently acknowledged his service was not doing enough to make the site more user friendly or add functionality that would attract a more expanded user base. This change, along with changes seen earlier this year where they launched group chats for direct messages, or letting anyone privately message any other user even if that person does not follow you, seems to indicate that Twitter is finally getting the message they need to innovate and give users what they want, more flexibility.
This new longer formatted DM will allow users to also add more emojis, links, photos etc. for a much richer experience making Twitter feel more like a regular chatting tool. While Twitter hasn’t announced any plans to reduce the character limit on public tweets (and let’s hope they do), they have made sharing content easier this year. For example, when you want to quote a tweet, you can now do so without having to give up any of your character limit because the tweet becomes embedded in the post. Images, GIFs, Vines, videos and audio files can also be embedded – in both public and private tweets.
These changes may be enough to increase Twitter’s penetration into the legal profession as lawyers start to feel it is more like the chatting, email or other social media platforms they are used to. As we know, legal professionals are not necessarily known for brevity and as such might have found the old platform restrictive. So the big question is, “is this all too little, too late?” for the legal industry? Will we see lawyers and law firms start to embrace Twitter and integrate into their social media strategies? Only time will tell.
In the meantime you call follow fSquared Marketing on Twitter at @fSquared_Mktg or reach out to me directly if you need any help with Social Media.
Robert Foley is Co-Founder and Chief Digital Officer at fSquared Marketing. He has over 15 years experience defining, building and managing large-scale websites and digital solutions for top professional services companies and law firms in both Canada and the U.S.
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