Twitter direct messages traditionally work if you and another person are following each other, but a new feature allows any follower to DM you even if you’re not following them.
The feature has already started rolling out to users, and can be found on the main Twitter Settings page directly above “Your Twitter archive.”
To prevent any unwanted messages, the option is turned off by default, but if you want to turn it on, simply check the box and click “Save Changes.”
Twitter has yet to share any details about the new feature, or an estimated time frame for its roll out.
Businesses who use the social network for customer service will benefit greatly from the feature, saving time from sending tweets telling customers they have to be following in order to send a DM.
It could also benefit news organizations who want a quick tip on a potential breaking story:
We just opened our Twitter account to allow you to DM us even if we don’t follow you yet. If you have a story for us, let us know!
— Dateline NBC (@datelinenbc) October 15, 2013
And for Twitter users already pretty accessible, it adds to the 47 different ways to be contacted:
Finally, anyone can DM me now. Previously the only way you could contact me was to call, text, email, Facebook message, gchat, or @ reply
— samir mezrahi (@samir) October 15, 2013