Twitter Auto-DMs are of the Devil

Twitter auto-DMs are the vile, putrid crap regurgitated from the flaming bowels of the Internet hell to wreck havoc on unsuspecting tweeters whose only sin was following in the first damn place.

It’s not just ME

Really, I ain’t alone in my dislike for these. In fact I’ve collected a few ‘Die Auto-DM, Die!‘ memes in my time here on the Internets.

Behold, the Gospel according to:

Augie Ray. He conducteth scientific research, with numbers and everything.

“Think of it as a Twitter intervention: If a sufficient number of people care enough to cure the senders of Auto DMs of their bad habit, we can make a dent in those annoying generic messages.”

Lisa Gerber. She ranketh them worst amongst her peeves.

“When I follow you on Twitter, and immediately get an auto direct message asking me to friend you on Facebook or visit your website, you’ve just turned on the ICK factor, and I’ve hit the unfollow button.”

Sean McGinnis. He weepeth for what makes the Internet cry, such as “overly pious dipshits.”

“.. this practice is spammy as hell.  To my way of thinking, the auto DM serves no real purpose. It has been adopted by many Social Media Gurus and other wannabes within the Twitterverse and it drives me absolutely insane.”

Raul Colon. He shareth great examples on getting to know followers rather than spamming them.

“No matter how you want to justify your Auto Dm’s they are defined as Spam. They are not requested by your new followers and it is kind of going against the trust this person just gave you by following you.”

Heidi Cohen. She knoweth they are cold, impersonal and self-promotional crap.

“The reason that this is a social media #fail is that it’s the opposite of how to engage in the social media ecosystem. While it appears to be helpful, it’s all about you. Who wants to join a social media tribe only to be immediately assaulted by a promotional harangue?”

Kyle Lacy. He hath started a petition against them. In 2008. (So hath Dave Fleet, circa 2009.)

“Sign below in the comment form if you dislike Auto DMs. Steal the logo and put it on your page. Spread the wealth. Spread the info.”

Dear Crissy. She asketh for a show of hands for those followers that liked auto-DMs; crickets.

“Unless you want to give your followers an immediate sensation of disgust, and an overwhelming urge unfollow you, I recommend putting the brakes on auto DM’s completely.”

Nicholas Cardot. He revealeth the secret to highly effective auto-DMs. In all caps.

DON’T AUTO MESSAGE YOUR TWITTER FOLLOWERS. … DON’T EVER DO IT!

Too Much?

I’m not saying anyone who uses Twitter auto-DMs is going to burn for all eternity, just that maybe they might want to rethink that networking strategy.

If I missed a meme or commandment post, feel free to drop it in the comments.

Photo credit: Justin Parks, who bequeath us that great picture.

Comments (33) | Trackback

33 Responses to “Twitter Auto-DMs are of the Devil”

  1. Brian meeks says:

    My only problem with this post is that it didn’t begin to describe my own hatred of the AUTO DM. I received an Auto DM (Automatic Dumbass Message) in my inbox from a guy a few weeks back. He had followed me and because he didn’t look like a spammer or bot, I decide not to block him. A few days later I thought he seemed okay and actually followed him back. I immediately got a dumbass message telling me he was an expert in social media and I should check out his site.

    If he was an expert in social media then he would know that sending me an Auto DM made him look like a 53 year old, portly, balding man who listens to Justin Bieber and hangs out at shopping malls, trolling for teens in the food court.

    I did the only sensible thing. I blocked him, reported him for spam, then sent out a tweet with the hash tag #blockopotamous, which encourages my followers to block him as well.

    I hope he gets diagnosed with a terminal illness, is paralyzed in an accident on the way home from the hospital, and then his cable company drops all of his channels except the ‘Knick Knack Shopping Network’. Then I hope he burns in hell.

    (Note: The previous paragraph was edited into the soft bunny like version you just read. My real thoughts are much uglier.)

    So to summarize…I really don’t care for auto DMs.

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    Heeeee.. LMAO. Did the ‘expert’ link to free ecrap, then hit you with a popup ad the second you went to the site or asked to also follow on LinkedIn? Also big ‘NO’ for me. Kinda tempted to ask for the UNsugar-coated version Brian, but not sure even my lax comment policy would handle it. ;-)

    Had a short discussion of this today, that’s for some it is meant as a courtesy, to thank them and let them know what to expect from their follow. But it’s their follow, which IMO means they kinda had an idea in mind when they hit follow. I just as soon thank for their engagement via tweets, replies and if not, hope they get something of value even if they don’t @reply w/me; if they unfollow.. again, it’s their call. FWIW.

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  2. [...] worse if the reaction comes from Davina Brewer and the scores of folks who commented on this post. And I promise, no one wants to be the fly. No one’s fast [...]

  3. Davina, This is the funniest anti-DM post I’ve ever read. It’s hysterical. This is my first time here to your blog but it won’t be the last.

    I rarely DM anyone who I haven’t already established a connection with (by RTing their posts). I once did DM someone because they were obviously new and I almost didn’t follow them because they were following so many more people than they had followers. I wanted to just give them the heads-up that they would benefit from getting a handle on that. They responded in awe that a real person had actually connected with them. :) The problem was that they had been following the wrong people. It’s all about the human connection.
    Sherryl Perry recently posted..8 Reasons I Do NOT Follow Like or Connect on Social Networking Sites

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    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    Thanks Sherryl. It’s why I picked this post for the CommentLuv on your list of “No follow on Social Network” post, thought they were cut from the same cloth. ;-)

    I will RT this post or one of the posts mentioned on days when I get a crappy auto-DM. Maybe there are some newbies out there who’d benefit from following someone with a different approach. Which is the same as yours, real connections. Thanks.

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  4. Steve Rice says:

    Found your blog through Marcus Sheridan. LOVE your writing style. I just caught this post and to be honest didn’t know what “Auto DM” is. I receive my first Auto-DM this last week and didn’t realize what it was.

    I’m so glad for the head’s up so that I never create such an annoying practice. Thanks for the great insight.
    Steve Rice recently posted..The Miracle of Your Own Existence

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    You’re welcome Steve. There are always growing pains, a learning curve for anything.. Twitter and social media are no different. There’s nothing wrong with a DM of course, but it’s the spammy, preprogrammed DM that’s a push ad.. that’s a quick turn off for many of us out here. As a marketer, better ways to use Twitter and connect with a following.

    Thanks for the love, glad you liked the post. Nice of you to visit by way of Marcus’ blog.. sure I’ll see you over there sometime.

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  5. “In fact I’ve collected a few ‘Die Auto-DM, Die!‘ memes in my time here on the Internets” – Haha, I love it!

    Every time I come here, I always leave laughing. Thanks for bringing a smile on my face, Davina! What a great way to start the day. :)

    Back to the topic at hand, I feel the same way. I hate DMs as well, and most of the time I don’t even read them because they’re usually spam anyway.

    Personally, I’ve never used them (and I’m pretty active on Twitter) – I’ve just never found the need. Most of the people who follow me are coming from my blog (at least, I’m assuming so), so it wouldn’t make sense to direct new followers to my blog AGAIN.

    Loved the post, Davina. You just received a loyal follower! :)

    Christina
    Christina Crowe recently posted..Goals and Achievements – April 2011

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    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    I gotta agree with you Christina, they are pretty pointless. If someone follows you, they found you somewhere right, so why DM them some spammy crap? Sheesh.. Glad you liked this and are following; I’ve seen your excellent comments over at Marcus’ blog and been planning to drop by your blog. Soon, promise. :-)

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  6. Lisa Gerber says:

    OMG!! How did I miss this. I command all of thee, to respond to all auto-dm’s with a link to this post.
    LOVE LOVE LOVE.

    the end.

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    Lisa, Slacker! What took you so long?! ;-) Hi.

    Many of the folks quoted here (and other posts I’ve read) all suggest that, reply back with an “anti auto-DM” link. Which is great.. if that person follows back; I’d estimate about half my auto-DMs have come from the bait-n-switchers who quickly unfollow as soon as they’ve gotten you to follow them. Grr.. So I settle for sending tweets and links to various posts, hoping SOMEBODY is out there paying attention. *crosses fingers*

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  7. Your commandments are hilarious! Justin Brackett sent me a link about this very topic a few weeks ago and the author said he doesn’t always unfollow for an auto DM. And people, in the comments, argued with him. I hate, hate, hate auto DMs, but I won’t unfollow you for them. But those TwitValidation things? I’m not going to go that extra step to get to follow you. Sorry.

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    Lisa Gerber Reply:

    I won’t take that extra step either. I agree.
    Lisa Gerber recently posted..lisagerber- @ginidietrich @SeanMcGinnis it would have made a good video- thats for sure

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    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    They do sorta say “you’re following a tool” don’t they? I rarely get them anymore so maybe folks are figuring it out.

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    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    I think I’m funny. ;-)

    I don’t ALWAYS unfollow, but I give it serious thought, usually going to take a closer look at that person’s Twitter stream. If I see other tell-tale signs that person is a douche, I’ll unfollow. If the person’s tweets and shares are good, valuable.. then they’ll stay. But if I continue to get spammy DMs, unfollow. Also don’t like the Validation thingys, that’s why I quoted Sean’s self-important pious jerkwad or whatever it was.. thought his post was pretty damn funny too.

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  8. Haha! Awesome compilation!

    I’m not normally one to post l;inks to other posts within a comment, but in this case, it’s relevant to the discussion.

    After I posted my thoughts on the auto DM, I stumbled across a way to block many of them – YAY!

    http://www.312digital.com/2011/01/11/eliminate-twitter-auto-dms-in-4-easy-steps/

    It actually works. I still get a few here and there, but the ones I receive are but a fraction of what I used to get. Them again, you’d be missing out on the signal that might suggest who you should unfollow. :)
    Sean McGinnis recently posted..Your Twitter Avatar- An Extreme Makeover in 5 Easy Steps

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    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    Great addition Sean, by all means link away – I asked for it! :-)

    Augie did a few posts on this problem, I only linked to one of them. But – think I’ve mentioned it – that replying with the survey link only works if they follow back and many of these folks don’t.. they get a quick follow, DM.. then unfollow. Grrr..

    Will check the OptMeOut tool, see how it goes. Appreciate your feedback, thanks.

    [Reply]

  9. I hate them. It got so bad that any time I DM’d someone to thank them for following me, I’d make sure to call out the fact that it was NOT an auto-DM (I only do this with some people, call me a snob if you will). The weird thing is that the few times I’ve asked people (via DM) whether this works for them, they say yes – these are people who I’d think know better.

    And like Ingrid, I really don’t like it when the first auto-thank you-DM ALSO includes a link to connect on FB, LI, etc. Why on earth should I do that?! I ignore FB friend requests all the time from people I don’t know – and I really try to figure out if we have some kind of connection somewhere, ditto re: LI.

    Ugh.
    Shonali Burke recently posted..Two Twitter Accounts- Yea or Nay

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    It’s too ME, ME, ME.. needy.. asking for FB likes or friends, or random LI connections. It really is just about the vanity number and a big turn off for me too Shonali.

    It’s a courtesy thing about thanking for the follow. Looks self-promotional in the stream but now, via DM it seems a waste. We can unfollow just as quickly; makes more sense to do it after some time.. after that person has RT you or commented on your blog, then by all means, send a DM to thank for the follow and engagement. But the instantaneous, programmed auto-DM.. either for a follow or as a random mass pitch to everyone “hey I have knew free e-crap” is just so much NO. And ICK. And UGH.

    [Reply]

  10. I’m with you, Davina. It’s one of the things that will tempt me to automatically un-follow someone!
    Danny @ Firepole Marketing recently posted..How Entrepreneurs Think- Choosing Your Niche- and Guest Posts – the Very Best of the Web!

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    Thanks Danny, it does tempt me to find that unfollow button.. or like I told Gini, give it serious consideration. Glad you liked the post, tell your friends and followers, just say no. ;-)

    [Reply]

  11. WOW Davina,
    So tell us how you really feel about them auto DM’s hehe ;).
    I would have to agree and then some!

    I use DM’s all the time – but the “I’m a real person talking to you specifically” kind. Sometimes, you just have something to say in private – or you’ve already sent out too many thank you’s for RT’s so you want to use a DM or whatever…

    But honestly, it boggles my mind that after all these posts about auto-DM – that people still send them. At least be more creative if you’re going to do it. I’m tired of you asking me to friend you on Facebook or to join your FB page or to see what you’re selling.

    But the thing is – if you follow me and I decide to follow you back after I’ve gone all FBI on your profile – and you send me one – I won’t automatically un-follow you. Why? Because if I followed you in the first place it means you share things that interest me. So, I guess I will have to just deal with that one time crappy auto-DM of yours.

    I try to understand marketers in that they think a small % will actually click on the link. But today – more and more people are taking the time to use Twitter effectively or in a non-spammy way – and when I get these auto-DM’s from people who I would have presumed to know the unwritten rules – it just makes me wonder.

    Love the Gospel :).
    Thank you for saying like it is Davina!
    Cheers
    Ingrid Abboud recently posted..Bring IT! What Are Your Blogging Pet Peeves

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    I know what you mean Ingrid and I don’t ALWAYS unfollow, but one spammy auto-DM is kinda my limit. If I get hit with more impersonal requests to read your ebook or connect on LI, when we’ve never really connected, never commented on each others blogs or RT, then it does send me to my unfollow place. And to TweetDeck where I schedule a random RT of someone’s “Just Say No to Auto-DMs” posts; which may or may not catch the eye of the DMer but I do it anyway.

    I’m using DMs more, for that detailed discussion. Or if it’s a technical fix or something that is too much like a phone call w/ a bunch of buddies sharing in jokes or planning the weekend. Kinda like texting, if it takes more than a couple messages it’s probably time to make a phone call; or for Twitter, take it outside to the DM. (Now that only applies to my style of tweeting; some may be more comfortable mixing more of the personal/professional in the stream.)

    I think those that see these posts and do it anyway, 1) either don’t get and 2) possibly don’t care to. Maybe they just want the 20K faceless eggs and porn spammers to follow them, so they can talk follow count. Maybe they prefer a ‘set and forget it’ style and really think social media is nothing more than a broadcast channel. IDK.. I guess I go back to TEHO.

    OMG .. your latest post on peeves. I can and will bring it, may even tell you how I really feel. ;-)

    [Reply]

  12. I thought it was just me LOL Yeah – I agree. I’m glad you got your rants on Davina!
    Lori Gosselin recently posted..What Do You Fear

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    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    Not just you Lori, there are a lot of us out here judging from all the posts, the comments, RTs of the posts. I guess there will always be those who see value, function to the auto-DM but for me, a world of NO.

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  13. Easily the best Auto DM/Twitter article I’ve EVER read on the internet Davina. Seriously, this was LOL hilarious and witty. Too opinionated??? NEVER!!!

    Thanks for being friggin awesome,

    Marcus
    Marcus Sheridan-The Sales Lion recently posted..Blogging- ‘The Force’- and How to Sell Like a Jedi Knight

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    Ok, thought I had you on a ‘white list’ or whatever of approved commenters; must look into this. Anyhoodle..

    Hee. IDK what prompted the ‘sermon’ theme but once I got on a roll, I couldn’t stop. Guess I do share some pretty strong opinions, after all.. when the power of silliness or Twitter compels me. ;-)

    [Reply]

  14. Frank says:

    Davina,

    Forgive me for being slow but it took me a while to figure out what you were talking about with the DM. I tried all kind of combinations like dumb men, drastic media, until I finally got it, direct message. Eureka! I have noticed that with a lot of people that I choose to follow I get those quick responses asking me to connect with them somewhere or buy their product and it is really annoying. Maybe I should set up a DM to tell them to deacitive their DM. (I got the lingo now.) :-)
    Frank recently posted..Leave a Lasting Impression

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    Good point Frank, I probably should have spelled out DM as direct message a little more. I want to say one of Augie’s posts had that suggestion, to send a reply DM with the survey results that show people don’t like auto-DMs. The other catch that drives me crazy, it’ll only work if they follow you back. Anyway, just had to go on record with my little rant, thanks for stopping by today.

    [Reply]

  15. I started out on Twitter with auto-DMs because as Davina says they’re sworn by on many an internet marketing guru blog. But… I’m not an internet marketer. I’m just regular people who wants to make connections and via those, money. An auto-DM, I soon learned, does the opposite. I changed my auto-DMs several times to justify them. Once asked new followers to tell me what they loved abot writing or editing, and promised to add them to my gallery of quotes. Got a lot of positive responses to that, but not enough to keep it going. So I eventually shut the whole auto-DM machine down. Love real chats on DM, though!
    Shakirah Dawud recently posted..Working Green Packaging With The Packaging Diva

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    Real chats are fine, Shakirah. I use DMs all the time. A personalized thanks for following DM is very nice. I think it’s how the auto-DM got started, back in the days of everyone wanting to thank and welcome new followers. But now the fake out “awesome to connect” blah blah, is just not necessary when we know it’s programmed… and therefore, not personal not about connecting.

    Adding insult to injury with a “see also my LI or FB or ecrap or website” that usually sends me straight to my unfollow place. IDK it somehow takes undo advantage of the follow opt-in, whereby I decided to follow your tweets but didn’t sign up for spammy self promotional automated DMs. JMO.

    [Reply]

  16. HATE the auto DM. I’m still amazed by the number of people out there that continue to use them: asking me to like their FB page, or if I’m interested in gaining 1000s of Twitter followers, or if I want to make more money. Unfollow. Done.

    I do enjoy however a good, honest DM that’s sent on impulse or after we’ve become better acquainted. Those, I enjoy. Those enhance our relationship. Enjoyed the list of fellow DM haters!
    Erica Allison recently posted..The Triberr Break Up- It’s Not You- It’s Me

    [Reply]

    Davina K. Brewer Reply:

    Erica, I send regular DM all the time; makes sense if it’s going to be a little chat back and forth that you don’t want to clutter your stream. But the auto-DM for following, or for a new post, or free e-crap, that’s just so much NO. Figured I had enough posts to share, that it was time to get my rant on. Thanks.

    [Reply]

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