Twitter will let users send group messages and shoot video using its mobile app beginning Tuesday.
Both moves could help Twitter increase user engagement, keeping people actively using the service for longer. Right now, Twitter trails far behind social networks like Instagram and Facebook, although that partly depends on how you track engagement.
Allowing multiple people to talk to one another turns direct messaging into a built-in messaging app, like group texting or Facebook Messenger before Facebook separated it out. There are also a lot of business-messaging apps like Slack that have similar capabilities.
When people initiate a group chat they will be able to invite anyone who follows them into it, allowing conversations between people who might not know each other.
Group DMs will work on Twitter’s iPhone and Android apps as well as on the Twitter.com website and Tweetdeck, a social-media dashboard owned by Twitter.
It’s unclear when third-party Twitter apps like Tweetbot will be able to take advantage of group messaging.
Twitter also announced a new video feature for its mobile apps.
Users will be able to access their phone’s camera by pushing a button, record clips up to 30 seconds long, edit them, and upload them.
Those who have an iPhone will also be able to upload and edit videos from camera roll. Twitter says that feature will be coming to Android devices soon.
When the videos are posted, people will see a thumbnail from the video with an instant-playback button.
We’ve heard of Twitter’s aspirations for video before: Re/code reported this month that the company was imminently releasing a video tool separate from Vine, the mobile video app Twitter acquired in 2012; Vine allows users to upload only six-second videos.
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