Twitter Etiquette: Auto-DMing on Follow

Alan BelniakSocial Media6 Comments

Twitter Auto-DM chat between @abelniak and @HightalkA 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: [1] a genuine thank-you DM (written each time); [2] nothing; and [3] 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?