Death to Auto-DMs on Twitter
Posted on 17 February 2011
You don’t STILL think auto-DMs on twitter are a good idea, do you?!
I HATE auto-DMs, and I know I’m not alone in that. If you do a search for “auto-dms on twitter”, you’ll see lots of blog posts on that topic. The vast majority of them are by people who hate auto-DMs as vehemently as I do.
You don’t know what an auto-DM is? It stands for an “automated direct message”, which is a private message that you send to acknowledge someone who follows you on twitter. There are tools that people use to prepare and send out canned auto-DMs, but I’m not going to name those tools or give you the links, because I don’t want you to use them.
Here are some auto-DMs I’ve received in just the past few days, after I followed people who seemed sane and interesting:
- “Thanks for the follow. Be sure to check out our website [website address]”
- “Hello and thanks so much for the follow! Look forward to sharing ideas with you. Please check out our site [website address]”
- “Thanks for following [company name]! Please visit [website address] for information on how YOU can create your own [products]!”
And here’s my all-time-least-favourite, send-me-into-paroxysms-of-outrage auto-DM: “Thanks for the follow. What do you do?” Excuse me, did you read my bio?! If you don’t have the courtesy to do that before sending me a DM, you don’t deserve my follow.
So why do I hate auto-DMs so much?
- They’re impersonal – the writer doesn’t bother to use my name, or tell me their name.
- Most of them drive me to visit the writer’s website. Good grief! If someone’s website URL is listed in their profile, then I KNOW I can visit it if I want to. And I WILL, if I’m interested. But I don’t need them to push me.
- A DM is someone’s FIRST communication with me after I follow them. I’d prefer them to build a relationship with me and gain my trust before they start blatantly pushing their stuff.
- It seems to me that automation is totally contrary to the “social” part of “social media”. I want to communicate with a PERSON, not a robot.
So if you send me an auto-DM (or even a message that looks/sounds/feels like a pushy auto-DM) after I follow you, I will instantly unfollow you.
And in this article, a contributor recommends the use of auto-DMs (see point #4), and is shot down in flames by several commenters: “8 Ways Entrepreneurs Can Get More Out of Twitter” by Scott Gerber (@askgerber).
What do YOU think and feel about auto-DMs? Is there ANY good reason for people to use them?
P.S. In related news, see my blog post titled “If I’m Not Following You Back On Twitter, Here’s Why”.