Direct Message

What do you call a personal message that motivates one to feel alive and do things? Carpe DM 🥸

A direct message, also known as a ‘DM,’ a private message, or a personal message, is a confidential communication sent between two or more parties on any given online platform. Unlike the public posts that a user may make on their side of that platform, these are entirely private, kept only between the two or more participants of the DM.

There are two types of direct messages. The first is when a larger platform has Internet relay chat (IRC) or forum capabilities that allow users to step away from the public eye of their usual posting to interact with a user directly. This is seen on social media websites such as Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Pinterest, and most other sites where users make publicly available profiles and engage with other users.

The second type is in instant messaging platforms – spaces explicitly built for the purpose of one-on-one or group interaction. This includes platforms such as Slack, WhatsApp, Kik, Discord, Snapchat, KakaoTalk, Telegram, and hundreds of others.

History of the DM

As far back as 1971, we have been trying to use computers to talk to one another from a distance. The first email system that was able to communicate between two parties using different host computers was launched with the ARPANET. Suddenly armed with the ability to send electronic communications between two people or groups remotely, personal messaging was revolutionized.

When the Internet began taking off in full in the mid to late 1990s, instant messaging services flourished. AOL Instant Messenger, MSN Messenger, Yahoo Messenger and dozens of small, independent chat rooms cropped up across the web, and would continue to do so for decades to come.

Facebook is thought to be the first social network to include a chat function in the form of Facebook Chat, which launched in 2008 (before it evolved into Facebook Messenger in 2011.) Twitter introduced their DMs in 2013. From there, the ability to directly message another user on a social network has become the standard – an expected feature.

Direct messages in digital marketing

Direct messages are a powerful tool for human communication, and they can be highly beneficial to brands that want to build connections and communities among their customers. Digital marketing teams may also reap the benefits of using DMs to reach out to influencers, partner brands, and potential brand ambassadors.

This isn’t just speculation, either. Direct messaging is one of the fastest-growing channels that people use to communicate with brands, and 70% of consumers surveyed by Zendesk are willing to spend more of their money with companies that offer the kind of fluid, personalized customer experience that DMs can act as a foundation for.

Social media messaging, web messaging platforms (either with a live agent or a chatbot,) or even SMS text messaging are all leading methods of getting one-on-one with customers as part of a marketing campaign.

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