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Twitter’s new direct messaging button will let you chat with any site on the web

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Twitter is launching a new feature that could see its presence felt across the internet. The social network is adding a new message button to its set of publishing tools that can be added to external sites, meaning it could potentially start popping up all over the web.

The tool allows you to connect with your favorite brands and businesses from their personal websites using Twitter’s direct message function.

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Businesses that wish to utilize the feature will first need to create a Twitter account. If you already have one set up, Twitter recommends changing your settings to allow anyone to direct message you, whether or not they follow you. Then all you have to do is provide your profile URL, or username, and user ID to get started. Now you can embed the button directly on your website, which when clicked by a visitor (or customer) will allow them to get in touch with you via Twitter.

Seeing as so many brands are already on Twitter, the move makes sense as an extension of the platform’s core live chat experience. Additionally, the feature will help Twitter play catch-up to rival Facebook, which already has a comments plugin for websites, and has boosted its customer service features for Facebook pages. Twitter is also dealing with the relatively new threat of chatbots, which are taking over messaging platforms such as Kik, and Facebook Messenger.

The fact that tweets are restricted by characters — making them unfeasible for longer customer service inquiries — meant that direct messaging was the only viable alternative for Twitter. Unlike Tweets (which can only contain a maximum of 140 characters), Twitter messages allow you to send up to 10,000 characters.

Twitter’s message button is now available alongside its other plugins, which include an embedded grid for multimedia stories, embedded tweet, and embedded timeline.

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