Every single day, without fail, I see someone tweet about how much they hate auto direct messages on Twitter. “I hate auto DMs.” “Auto DMs are the devil.” “If an Auto DM had the chance, it would kill you and your family.”
Ok, I get it, we all hate auto DMs.
I follow all sorts of people on Twitter. Newbies. Casual users. Marketers. Hardcore Twitterati. I follow all of these crazy people, and I have not received an auto DM since 2009.
I remember the first time I got an auto DM. It was before I was jaded into the angry, anti-social media personality I am now. I went to a tweetup, and I met a guy who thought he was a big shit. Maybe he is, I don’t know, but I was young and optimistic and I followed him.
I was met with a greasy, fat auto DM:
“Thanks for following me. Read my blog, subscribe to everything I do, and throw money at me. Thanks!”
Ok, that quote might not be entirely accurate, but “Subscribe to me” was at least the basis of it. I thought, “Why of course complete stranger who I’m just getting to know and who has yet to prove his worth, that’s was exactly what I want to do! Thank you for assuming that by following you on Twitter, I’m wholly invested in everything you do.”
I ignored that DM, and continued to follow him, until I realized he didn’t tweet anything original. He republished the same 5 articles from his blog over and over and over. People looking for engagement strategies, take note this is not an acceptable strategy.
This auto-publishing was a clear example of someone who was doing it wrong. Not only was he faking that he cared about people, he couldn’t give a damn about even creating a unique tweet once in a while. It was a clear attempt to exploit the medium to profit from other people.
I unfollowed him a month later, and I am thankful I haven’t seen another auto DM. I don’t want to imagine what it’s like to get more than one automated direct message. If my experience was an indication of one user’s ineptitude, then the collective user base of idiots must be truly frightening.
So, what morons are still using Auto DMs? Has anyone ever used them well? Let’s eradicate this scourge from the internet.