As of today, Twitter has abolished its 140-character limit for direct messages. Now, you can send messages containing up to 10,000 characters, as well as photos, meaning the DM sliding game has officially changed.

Last fall, Twitter began improving the function, adding the ability to send links and hold group conversations.

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“We want to make sure you can really fluidly move between public and private,” said DM product manager Sachin Agarwal in an interview.

So, the women of Jezebel have come together to bring you a comprehensive guide to moving from public to private, a.k.a., sliding into his or her DMs. Use it as a roadmap to navigating the rocky terrain of one-on-one messaging on one of the most public platforms on the internet, and know that if you use it correctly, it could result in a committed long-term relationship.

First thing to know is that there are several reasons to slide. One might opt to use DMs in order to request sex or dates, for more platonic “I love your mind and your content”-type flirting, for shit-talking a third party, for networking and making connections, for providing benevolent advice, or for investigating the identity of troll accounts and conducting other Twitter-related business.

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That said, each of these end goals requires a different introduction and a different level of comfort with the DM recipient involved. Consider: are the DM recipient’s DMs open or restricted to people they follow? The former recipient will likely be more open to engaging in some Internet mutual masturbation, but is also less likely to follow up in the real world since they are likely juggling a number of DM relationships at once. Am I generalizing? Yes, very much so.

Now, if you both already follow each other, the barrier to entry is much lower. You both clearly respect each other’s view, or, at the very least, are mutually hate-following one another and would likely be game for some rage-fueled boning (verbal or otherwise).

One Jezebel staffer advises that if you want to have a meaningful conversation—say, about an article or real-life events—to attempt to move it to email or phone as soon as possible.

A DM of this nature might read:

Hey Joanna, I love your work. Wanted to talk to you about X important topic. Can I email you?

The act of requesting sensitive material via an insecure platform often used for flirts rubs this staffer the wrong way, so moving it to a more personal medium feels respectful of both parties involved.

If you are interested in more than just a professional connection, one Jez staffer feels that DMs should only occur if you’ve already met in real life.

“My limited successful DM slides have come from meeting someone, not getting their number, and wanting to follow up,” she says.

If you roll in circles that will expose you to desirable DM accounts, then by all means wait until you have met. However in my opinion, the thrill of the DM largely comes from the limited knowledge one has of the other party. “I know your tweets, but I don’t know you,” kind of thing.

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A Jezebel staffer who is a self-described frequent DMer notes that it is best to DM shortly after they have tweeted or favorited one of their tweets to ensure that the user is active, which is a good point — a DM that is received while the user is out and about could be doomed to languish unread in that user’s inbox, possibly forever, which is a top five universal nightmare.

In terms of opening moves, it is best to open with some kind of joke, reference to their most recent tweet, or the one they just favorited of yours. Make it clear that you are breathing the same air, eating the same food, laughing at the same internet.

A message like that might be:

Joanna, I totally feel the same way about cats. LOL. U R awesome.

“Think of it like passing a note, but over Twitter,” she advises. “So be friendly but not gross (at least not right away).”

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The thing about DMs is that you have to determine generally what you want form the interaction before plunging in. Do you want an actual date with the person but you are an anonymous internet horse? Best not to start with the preface-less “Can we date.” Remember — for all we know you are a horse with a cell phone. Best to start off with something nonthreatening that says, “I recognize you are a real person.”

In conclusion, DM sliding can be a lot of fun with the right approach and proper safety precautions. And, in case it wasn’t clear, my DMs are always open. Slide on in.


Contact the author at joanna.rothkopf@jezebel.com.

Image via Twitter.