A few days ago, someone started following me on Twitter. I go through my steps of determining whether or not I want to follow back this person. This person seemed like they’d offer up something of interest to me. So I followed back. And then I got an auto-direct message (DM). It was something like, “Thanks for the follow. Read my stuff over at ____.”
I instantly went back and unfollowed that person. I didn’t want to be spammed, and that’s what it felt like to me. An automatic, impersonal message to go read your stuff? No thanks. I also tweeted that out, and a little debate ensued. Take a look at the image (image created using Chirpstory). If you’re reading this in a feed reader, you might want to pop out to read the full story to see the image.
@ThatGuySteve08 offered up a point that generally agreed with mine. @HighTalk (hi, George!) offered up the dissenting opinion, and this is where the dialogue unfolded. My main point was that I didn’t like the impersonal, spam-like nature of auto-DMs-on-follow, specifically when a link to go read someone’s stuff or other general pimping is promoted. To be fair, perhaps this part of my disdain for auto-follow-DMs didn’t come through.
@HighTalk took the approach of something along the lines of it not being that big of a deal, and made a comparison to other automated messages (I don’t happen to agree with the analogy, but it’s an analogy nonetheless). We traded a few more messages, and I explained why I didn’t like the whole auto-DM-on-follow – I felt that it cheapens the “thank you'”. I’d prefer, and in this order:  a genuine thank-you DM (written each time);  nothing; and  an auto-DM that says thanks, but doesn’t pimp or promote.
We left the conversation at that, because our opinions diverged. But it got me thinking, so I put together this post. I respect George and George’s opinion, though I don’t agree with it. How about you? Where do you fall on this issue?