If you’re new to Twitter, and have recently found out about one of the many services that let you send an Auto DM on Twitter, then a word of advice – DON’T!
Twitter is about personal relationships. Auto DM is like Spam email, cold, impersonal, and ultimately pointless. I say this from personal experience of Auto DM’s, having tried it out, when it first appeared in the Twitter eco-system, received much feedback from people, and also experienced DM Spam myself, from following others, so when I say don’t Auto DM on twitter, I’m not just saying it because I don’t like it, I’m saying it because it just doesn’t work, and the general consensus in at least my Twitter community is to not do it, ever.
A Bit of Background on Auto DM’s
Some of you reading this might be wondering what I’m going on about, so let me just explain how Auto DM’s work.
With Twitter, you can only send someone a DM (a Direct Message), if they are following you. You don’t have to follow back anyone that follows you, in order to be able to send a DM, but you can only receive DM’s from people that you are following yourself.
When twitter first started out, we all experimented with different ways of using Twitter. I remember when services first surfaced that let you Auto DM, and many of us tried them out. What happens is that when someone new follows you, these Auto DM services will recognise that someone new is following you, and automatically send a pre-set message from you to the person that has just started following you.
Why Auto DM’s are Pointless and Spam
If someone has made the decision to follow you, when we were first starting out on Twitter, we all thought it was nice, and polite etiquette to thank the people for following us. In fact, we were all kinda new to it, so we would take the time to watch the individuals following us, and acknowledge new followers as they trickled in, in their two’s and fours.
Whilst that behaviour is fun and quirky for the first few people that you follow, once you start to engage with a few hundred people, that can start to get just a little overwhelming, for one, and also somewhat annoying to the people following you, if all you’re doing is thanking people for following you, and cluttering up other people’s twitter stream with lots and lots of thank yous.
Most people who follow you on twitter have already decided that you’re of interest to them, or will decide as much depending on the quality and content of your tweets, and the most respectful thing that you can do to your audience is to be yourself. The fact that by following you someone has given you a direct line of private communication with them is a fact that should not be taken lightly. It’s as good as having someone’s ear, whenever you need it, and should consequently be used as sparingly as possible. Abuse of this privileged position means that the value of the recipients private channel of communication, i.e. their DM’s, drops the more it gets cluttered with messages that aren’t direct communications, or conversations from the person sending the message, as is the case with Auto DM’s. It’s like having a red phone that goes direct to the White House, and if that phone line gets filled with advertisers and marketers promoting themselves then there’s little point in the President needing to answer those calls directly himself. If on the other hand it was only used by other Political officials such as the Prime Minister or President of another country, and they only used it in the most urgent of situations, then that channel of communication would have infinitely more value both to the President of the US as well as the officials in other countries.
So the next time someone starts to even suggest using Auto DM’s, tell them no. Your followers will then respect you that much more, and be ever more receptive to what you have to say, when it really matters the most.