The latest data suggests that Twitter has over 500 million users in total.

If you’re one of them, you may regularly send direct messages to followers, which is a short 140-character tweet only visible to you and them.  The barrier has always been that direct messages can only be sent between users who follow each other.

That is, until now.

A minor amend to your Twitter settings will enable anyone to send you a direct message, whether you follow them or not.

twitter changes 2013

The option to receive direct messages from any follower, whether you follow them or not, comes to Twitter – do you have it yet?

Why would you change your settings to receive direct messages from anyone?  I can’t see many people opening their Twitter inboxes to spammers, but for large organisations who use Twitter for customer service, this new feature may be a welcome change.

More of us are heading to Twitter to voice 0ur concerns about customer service, having hit a frustrating brick wall with call centres, so the ability to direct message any company that you follow, even when they don’t follow you, opens up another avenue of communication which will be a hit with many.

This feature isn’t available to all users just yet, but you can see if you have the option to receive direct messages from any follower by checking the Account tab of your Settings (see screengrab above).  Simply click the gear in the top right of your Twitter homepage to access your Settings, then scroll down to see if you have tick box shown above.

Mashable has the full story here:

http://mashable.com/2013/10/15/twitter-direct-messages/

What do you think?  Will you be changing your Twitter settings to let anyone send you a direct message?  Do you think more businesses will start accepting direct messages from Twitter followers? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.