Millions and millions of people use Twitter every single day, including journalists. An important feature of this social media site, the Direct Message (DM), Cision explains, is getting an improvement.
Before, only users that “follow” each other on the site could send direct messages to one another, but users can now accepts DMs from users that they don’t follow. These messages are private from the rest of the Twitter world and are only seen within a user’s personal account.
This new feature of the DM could prove to be a huge benefit for journalists in need of sources. Some tipsters prefer to be anonymous, but this proves to be difficult if they are tweeting out to the public about a tip, but now they can send personal DMs to a specific journalist that they wish to tip off.
Brian Stelter, Television and Digital Media Writer for The New York Times, is one of the first journalists to sign up for this feature. On October15, he tweeted out to his more than 200,000 followers:
“I’m going to treat Direct Messages like they’re anonymous tips — so if you send me something sensitive or secretive, I won’t I.D. you.”
Stelter also allows people to email or call him with news tips, but using Twitter as an option will give him access to more sources.
While users can opt-out of this new feature and continue to receive direct messages from only those that they follow, users of certain professions, like journalists, may want to take advantage of Twitter’s new feature rollout. In this digital age and the age of getting breaking news fast, Twitter sources can prove to be a very useful source for writers.
Would you feel comfortable sending a news tip to a journalist using Twitter? What do you think about journalists using sources that they got from Twitter? Let me know in the comments below!