Private or Direct Message

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I was fortunate that I got my start in digital connectivity on AOL. Once a public conversation started in a chat room, it was so easy to move it to a private conversation and continue to talk uninterrupted.

Once there, I had my audiences full attention. If things went well, not only did I get to move my prospect to the next stage of the process, but real connectivity was taking place and people get to really open up and bond.

Some communication apps, like Snapchat, are built almost entirely on the premise of the Private Message, or PM. Social networks like Whisper and Secret are very popular among today’s high-school-aged, smart-phone-wielding teens.

Facebook has an impressive mobile app just for this purpose (not to mention individual and group chat on the website) and the functionality gets better every day. They recently showed how much they value the future of private messaging by making a purchase of mobile texting application, WhatsApp. Since the purchase, Facebook has made several upgrades to their private messaging platform, and something tells me they’re far from done.

Twitter Direct Messages, or DM’s, prevent individuals from sending DM’s unless the individual receiving the message follows them. Thankfully, this feature has helped them avoided the fallout from misuse of the function by those who fail to understand the nature of connectivity through social media.

I often take public Twitter conversations private (or Direct) once it’s established that it’s no longer something that needs to be discussed in public – such as exchanging phone numbers or personal email addresses.  The Twitter-owned mobile app, Vine, recently launched VM’s. Their own version of private chat through the Vine mobile app.

Some networks, like LinkedIn, Meetup and Google+, while they have a version of private messaging features, almost always devolve into straight email conversations. Others, like Pinterest, without the private messaging feature (probably something you will see eventually) give the user the option to integrate or link to other social sites that do offer PM’s as an option.

You’ll find that many sites that don’t offer all six of the features mentioned here offer some type of integration or a place to include links where people are more inclined to interact – like Twitter and Facebook. I like to refer to these as “Integrated Social Networks.”

This post is part of a series. To read ahead, click here.