Twitter Starts Testing Audio Direct Messages in India, Brazil, Japan
— Twitter India (@TwitterIndia) February 17, 2021
Twitter is testing audio direct messages in India, Brazil, and Japan, a plan first hinted at a few months ago. The direct messages are an extension of the audio tweets the company unveiled last summer.
The audio messages are restricted to 140 seconds of audio, a number familiar to long-time users of the social media platform. You can fit a lot more into 140 seconds of speech than you can in 140 typed characters, however. When a user opens the chatbox where they would normally type their message, they can tap the microphone icon to start the recording, then tap the stop icon to complete the message. Once you’ve determined that it’s what you want to send, the message can be sent like any other message for the recipient to listen to at their leisure. It’s almost identical to sending an audio text message on a phone or leaving a voicemail for that matter. Twitter has not released the feature to every user in Brazil, Japan, and India, staggering the rollout at the moment. Notably, the audio form of the message means there’s no translation option in the message.
The direct audio messages just add another flavor to the conversation, since you could already send video, pictures and GIFs. Audio DMs could just be Twitter hitting all the expected beats with its audio services, despite a relatively low amount of interest in the audio versions of standard tweets. There’s also a question of accessibility. Twitter had to apologize right after first releasing audio tweets due to there not being a way for people with limited or no hearing to use the feature. On the other hand, the audio DMs could be a facet of the Twitter Spaces concept the social media company is currently testing. Spaces is a social audio feature, comparable to Clubhouse, that enables real-time audio conferences. That’s where people are really going to be paying attention in the near future.