POLL: Auto DMs – do they annoy you?

June 5, 2011 · 20 comments

Just a quick poll to those who use Twitter:

Auto DMs - do they annoy you?

  • Yes (87%, 47 Votes)
  • No (13%, 7 Votes)

Total Voters: 54

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Leave a comment if you would like to share your views (i.e. – fight your corner!)

Update: The poll has now closed after a week’s worth of voting.

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  • http://ideagirlmedia.com/ Keri J

    Hello Robert,

    Thanks for posting this poll.  It is interesting to see the points of view.  

    Auto DMs with links bother me.  But a friendly greeting of looking forward does not.  

  • http://twitter.com/snouraini Dr. Sherry Nouraini

    Thanks for stopping by my blog and commenting on the post about DMs being a potential reputation hazard.  I took your poll and glad to see that I am not in a minority. 

    It’s great to meet you.  I’ll tweet your poll.

  • http://www.robertpickstone.com Robert Pickstone

    Hi Keri,

    Thanks for your comment and sharing your view. I wonder if others who also don’t mind Auto DMs, prefer links to no links?

    Thanks for stopping by.

    Rob

  • http://www.robertpickstone.com Robert Pickstone

    My pleasure, Sherry. Great to meet you too.

    There is a long list of reasons against Auto DMs, and it appears that annoying other users and risking your reputation are right near the top.

    Thanks in advance for the tweet out too and lets keep in touch on Twitter

  • http://www.jedlangdon.com/ Jed Langdon

    Hi Rob,
    I can appreciate the sentiment behind auto-DM’s and think its nice that someone would want to send me a ‘personal’ greeting. Quite often the downfall of these greetings though, is that I receive them from people I have already had conversations with, which makes their greetings seem incredibly out of place and far from ‘personal’.

    I also have issues with people sending me links through auto-DM’s and my main pet peeve is when they include a link to their Facebook page asking me to follow them there. Is it not enough that I have chosen to follow them on Twitter? Surely a much better strategy to get me to visit their links is to engage me in actual conversation on Twitter, share useful links publicly and prove to me that I should engage with them elsewhere?

    Finally, and sorry for the rant, my main reason for disliking auto-DM’s is that they clog up my inbox, so much so that I often miss DM’s sent to me from friends, almost always resulting in me having to apologise for not replying to people days later. This is probably my problem and I probably should manage them better, but in my humble opinion auto-DM’s devalue the direct messaging service.

    Nice poll idea and some interesting results.

    Cheers,
    Jed

  • http://www.juusmedia.com/ Jason Stanley

    Interesting discussion going on here.

    A standard DM without any links doesn’t necessarily ‘annoy’ me (unless I suppose I receive hundreds of them at once) but they do seem rather detached from the person that I’m interested in following. So with that point I certainly agree with Jed when he mentions:

    “Quite often the downfall of these greetings though, is that I receive
    them from people I have already had conversations with, which makes
    their greetings seem incredibly out of place and far from ‘personal’.”

    With regards to automated DM’s that contain links to sites, facebook pages etc, these give me the impression that the account they are being sent from is only interested in site hits and not a genuine conversation. When sent these I tend to ignore the link altogether.

    Not an ideal way to present yourself on twitter in my opinion.

  • http://www.robertpickstone.com Robert Pickstone

    Thanks for the comment, Jed.  Rant away!

    Exactly the same happened to me recently. I had a conversation with someone, followed them and then got a DM saying “Nice to meet you. Here is a link to my website”. Not only was it not well timed, it was also impersonal because I knew it had no meaning whatsoever. The same message goes out to everyone – how could it possibly be personal?

    I’m with you on the links point too. Rather than engage and give a reason to visit other sites, it’s asking for a very quick favour, just as the users are only just connecting. I sometimes receive links to the same web URLs that are in a user’s bio. I always have a quick read of the bio before I follow them, and if I wanted to visit their website, I would have done so. Asking me is unnecessary and is pushing.

    Again, I’m with you on the clogging up of the inbox. I would rather my inbox was full of messages from people who wanted to speak to me and are making an effort to do so, not automated messages which pretend to be personal. I also have DMs set up on my phone to alert me the same as a text message. I have been woken up in the middle of the night by auto DMs before – not good!

    Phew – feels good to get that off my chest! Each to their own, Twitter doesn’t ban auto DMs, but it is clear what most users think of them.

    Thanks

    Rob

  • http://www.robertpickstone.com Robert Pickstone

    Thanks for giving your views, Jason.

    There is definitely a detachment. That person isn’t actually speaking to you. It is a message intended for everyone.

    Again, I’m with you on the links being pushed. I wonder how many people who use auto DMs receive high click through rates (as they should be measuring them)?

    There will be a few people who genuinely don’t realise that they are annoying other users, and I may DM this link back to some of them in a very nice way. There will also be users who know it annoys their potential customers but they don’t really care – they are desperate to market their services before getting to know the person.

    There may be the odd occasion where the stats disprove this but I would love to see them.

  • http://www.digitalwoe.com/go/comments/ Lynda

    I won’t unfollow someone because of an intro auto DM.  I’ve unfollowed people who send me follow-up impersonal DMs though.  I don’t really feel very strongly about it, but others DO. I don’t think they’re a good idea. There are other ways to put yourself out there without pissing people off right off the bat!

  • http://twitter.com/momcommblog Melissa Culbertson

    I just wrote a post about auto DMs today funny enough. I LOATHE them. To me they’re impersonal and self-serving. I won’t necessarily unfollow someone for sending one but there are SO many better ways to interact with your followers!

  • http://danbowsher-sgwi.posterous.com/ Dan Bowsher

    I’m against. However well intentioned they are, they come across as disingenuous and they immediately devalue that connection in my mind, unless I know the person already. Even then, I’ve been know to pick them up on it!

    Because they’re automated, they are largely irrelevant anyway. A personal DM would make so much difference, but even they are not without their failings. I’ve seen a lot of of them that then tail off into nothing when you attempt to enagage on relevant terms. What’s wrong with saying hello as an @ reply, I wonder?

  • http://www.robertpickstone.com Robert Pickstone

    Hi Lynda. I couldn’t have put it better myself! I know people who will instantly unfollow the second they receive an auto DM. There are many people who feel more strongly about it that I do but just haven’t blogged about it. Thanks for your comment!

  • http://www.robertpickstone.com Robert Pickstone

    Hi Lynda. I couldn’t have put it better myself! I know people who will instantly unfollow the second they receive an auto DM. There are many people who feel more strongly about it that I do but just haven’t blogged about it. Thanks for your comment!

  • http://www.robertpickstone.com Robert Pickstone

    Hi Lynda. I couldn’t have put it better myself! I know people who will instantly unfollow the second they receive an auto DM. There are many people who feel more strongly about it that I do but just haven’t blogged about it. Thanks for your comment!

  • http://www.robertpickstone.com Robert Pickstone

    Hi  Melissa,

    Can you share a link to your post? I would love to see.

    Word for word, I agree with you. It looks likely almost everyone else here agrees too.

    Autmomation isn’t a great way to interact!

  • http://www.robertpickstone.com Robert Pickstone

    That’s a really interesting point, Dan. If you already know someone who sends an Auto DM, you may be more likely to tell them. If you don’t know them though, telling them your views may be tricky to do! I may post this link to a few of the next Auto DMs I receive and see what happens.

    I do think that some people genuinely don’t realise what they’re doing and the impact it’s having on potential customers and friends. Others though who are “experienced marketers” have been around Twitter long enough to know how users feel about Auto DMs but still carry on using them as caring about potential customers doesn’t come first, the temptation to market using old techniques in new places does.

    The odd @ reply to a new follower can be a nice surprise for them. I do this now and again. People are often shocked when they see that you’ve read their bio and are making an effort to say hi in a personal, non-automated way!

  • http://twitter.com/momcommblog Melissa Culbertson

    Hey Robert! Here’s the link I wrote about auto DMs. It’s basically why they suck and what people should do instead: Why Twitter Auto DMs Are Evil (and What You Should Do Instead). Thanks for asking!

  • http://twitter.com/RyanCritchett Ryan Critchett

    Robert my man! These definitely annoy me. I think it’s quite simple. 

    1. You didn’t send the message, a robot did. 

    That’s it. It goes against the very nature of social media and is a definite hallmark of someone who wants to “use” the tools rather than “be” with people.

  • http://www.robertpickstone.com Robert Pickstone

    Ryan,

    Nice to speak to you again!

    You’ve pretty much nailed it. Using a robot to speak on your behalf isn’t social – it’s marketing – and a desperate attempt at that. I don’t like being marketed to in social spaces – most people feel the same – I thought intelligent marketeers would have worked that out by now.

    Social platforms are different, and we both know it. I started speaking to you after a friend shared your post on Twitter. If you Auto DM’d me, or vice-versa, we probably wouldnt be talking now.

    If people or companies want me to pay attention to me on social media, traditional marketing probably isn’t the best way to go about it ;-)

  • http://warrenwhitlock.com/social-media-expert Warren Whitlock

    I’ve polled my Twitter followers many times on this and usually get 100% response that Auto DM’s are hated.

    I suggest that the difference here is that we’re off Twitter. Perhaps thinking it through a bit more.

    My own opinion is around 87% against Auto DM’s. When they first appeared, I did some research, tried a few bots, and many versions of text. (some might say that 38 years of copywriting and 100k tweets give me an edge in experience). I couldn’t make the “thanks for following” message work.

    Next I tried asking others, reading every one I got, and sharing my “Dumb Auto DM of the Day” #DADM to remind everyone that they don’t work, and have some fun. This led to many discussions.

    I’ll leave out the majority view. What might help here is the minority. Most of those don’t use Twitter as a social tool and consider any free ad a good thing. That leaves a few smart people who make some good points.

    Currently, there are some uses that make sense. You can send 100 DM’s per hour, so a small list of people who are expecting to hear from you makes an audience that will not hate you for it. Perhaps updates on an event, an occasional deal for shoppers or private announcement to insiders.

    It makes sense to use automation here. (after all, Twitter would not work if there weren’t a lot of automations sorting and delivering the right tweets to people). The KEY to this is that receivers need to opt in.

    I hold that following someone (or setting Twitter to allow anyone to DM you) is NOT tactic permission to receive messages.

    After years of ignoring my DM box, I’ve now noticed that most unwanted messages are pure spam from someone I don’t recognize at all. I decided to try unfollowing those (there are hundreds a week) and found that some repeat, so it appears to be working.

    I still get dozens of “thanks for following” messages. Manageable. I think we’ll see better filters in the future and I’ll be able to use DM like email where I offer my email address is public (w@mbsbc.com) without problems. Looking forward to that day.

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