Do you use an automated Direct Message when someone follows you? [POLL]

UPDATE: there are two polls in this post – please vote in both.

This poll is motivated by my increasing frustration with the automated DM that seems to be increasingly being sent when I follow new people.

I counted up how many automated ‘thanks for following me’ messages I received in the last 24 hours and it was 45. While I can see why people are tempted to use this tactic (the messages often include links back to blogs, other social media sites and even affiliate links) a quick survey of my Twitter followers just now showed me that virtually nobody likes them – some even unfollow those who send them.

So I’m interested – do you use an automated DM when someone follows you? You’re welcome to vote and comment anonymously if you’d rather not identify yourself but I’d be interested to hear why people feel the need to do it, what results they’ve noticed from it and if they’ve noticed a backlash from doing so.

Do you use an automated Direct Message when someone follows you?

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And a 2nd poll…

What Do You Think When You Get an Automated 'thanks for following' DM?

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I should also give a reason for not liking automated DMs – the main reason for me is that they clutter my Direct Message window (and email inbox as I get them sent via email – something I’m considering stopping). When you get 45 automated ‘thanks for following, check out this link’ messages a day the genuine and personal DMs that you get become lost in the noise.

I also find them to be impersonal and a put off – Twitter at its best is about engagement and connection, an obviously automated DM goes against that and doesn’t create the best impression.

Looking forward to reading your comments below. Do you do it? What do you think of automated DMs? Should Twitter make some changes to stop them?

Update – due to numerous people asking on Twitter (this hit a nerve) I decided to add a 2nd poll asking what you think/feel about getting these auto DMs.

If you’d like to get the results on these polls either subscribe to our RSS feed (I’ll post them in a week) or follow me on Twitter and I’ll tweet the results.


  • March 25, 2009

    I would rather not have a message at all than an automated one. If you’re not going to be personal, Twitter isn’t for you.

  • March 25, 2009

    I don’t use them because they’re shameless.

    I don’t like receiving them for the same reason.

  • March 25, 2009

    I don’t use them and I don’t like when people do. I don’t get many DM’s so it’s usually an exciting affair when people send me one. If it’s automated it cheapens my little boy-ish excitement for attention.

  • March 25, 2009

    I use them and I do get traffic from the auto DMs – it does help to give a boost t your credibility and brand. annoyance, havent had anyone that told me yet that they were annoyed.

  • March 25, 2009

    I am generally quite put off by them. While it is nice to get a friendly (canned) hello, I would much rather just have it be an @reply.

    I am especially put off when the auto-DM contains links to blogs, products, etc. It would be nice if they took the time to know by my stream whether or not I would be interested in their content/affiliate products before they just shove them at me.

    I look forward to seeing what the rest of the TwiTip community thinks.

  • March 25, 2009

    I hate it. I go on following sprees both for my website and my interest and always target those who I think I’ll enjoy tweeting with and I get a million DM annoying!

    Was tempted to use it for my site but decided it was too annoying.

  • March 25, 2009

    I turned off email notification of DMs for exactly this reason. They don’t bother me much anymore because I can just quickly scan my DMs in TweetDeck. However, if I got so many auto DMs that the real DMs got lost among them, that would be a problem.

  • March 25, 2009

    Personally, I don’t like getting automated DMs whenI follow someone – but then I don’t like getting emails the first time I comment on a blog. I’m very ‘anti sales pitch’… I can see why people do them, but they just don’t work on me.

  • March 25, 2009

    Can I just add, the only time I would DM someone and include a link to our blog or site is if I’ve looked at what interests them and I have something that I think would be of interest to them.

    Sending me a link to a blog or site annoys me – it’s another form of monologue marketing

  • March 25, 2009

    Annoying! I get quite tired of them. Personal, ok. Automated, blech.

  • March 25, 2009

    It just comes across as lazy to me – not taking the time to personally meet your new followers – mind you I am not a heavily followed user (approx 1000 followers)

  • March 25, 2009

    Not only do I dislike auto-DMs, I intensely dislike auto-DMs from people who don’t follow me back, which means I can’t respond to their DMs even if I were so inclined. Aut0-DMing me when I follow almost guarantees an unfollow in response. My feeling is that if you have something to say, say it in your bio, which I will have looked at before deciding to follow you anyway… .

  • March 25, 2009

    No, don’t use auto DM. Don’t like receiving them either – just don’t seem “real”, not someone I want to do business with. But I don’t think it’s up to Twitter to control them.

  • March 25, 2009

    Oops! I guess I should remove mine! I didn’t think it would be a big deal, but apparently, it is!

  • March 25, 2009

    I am a relatively new twitter user, and I do not use auto-dms. I had not thought too much about the ones I receive, except that they seem a little canned and meaningless, until yesterday.
    I followed someone who seemed quite interesting to me. I got a msg thanking me for the follow, and asking me to share more about myself. Since I was interested in dialogue with this person, I tried to respond. That’s when I realized that she had not followed me back – making her invitation for me to share seem pretty darn hollow.
    So basically I think they are a poor substitute for actual communication.

  • March 25, 2009

    I don’t send a canned message to anyone, so no DMs. The fact is I consider who I follow on a case by case basis. When I do so, and I deiced to send a message, it has some humanity attached, something called thoughtfulness.

  • March 25, 2009

    I unfollow right away, it seems so impersonal to me and would never use one myself. Last week I found an interesting twitterer but after getting their auto dm I could care less what they had to say and unfollowed.

  • March 25, 2009

    Auto DMs are annoying as hell. This pretty much sums up how I feel about it:

  • March 25, 2009

    Don’t use them, and do not like them. They just seem so unprofessional and impersonal.

    I’d like to receive well thought out DM’s, you know? They should put some heart into their communication.

  • March 25, 2009

    Dare I admit to a different perspective? I follow people I choose to follow and I don’t feel it necessary to check out everyone who wants to follow me. There is no reason to expect the two lists to converge, so far as I’m concerned.

    My automated DM is a genuine thank you and includes a note that I write blogs which you can find on Google if you’re interested enough.

    If someone chooses to follow me for whatever reason then I reckon it’s their loss if they change their mind because I’ve sent them an automated DM. (To date it doesn’t seem to be happening). Equally if everyone who follows me expects me to follow them back they’re going to be disappointed. I can’t imagine what my incoming twitter stream would like like if I was trying to engage with hundreds or thousands of people. I appreciate that i could use Tweetdeck to screen out the people I’m notionally following but have no real interest in. BUT I also use Twitterfon on my iphone when out and about and that doesn’t have such a screening facility.

    I tweet 5-25 times a day, and send many @replies and DMs almost every day. I seem to lose very few followers. Maybe we’re just well matched.

    FWIW – I also intensely dislike the automated DMs that try to push me to a specific link and/or to buy or RT something. That tells me something about the person but maybe I’m just being more choosy than others, I get very few such automated DMs.

    Each to their own.

  • March 25, 2009

    Hi Darren.

    Thanks for posting this poll. Hope to see a follow up article about good DM etiquette.

    As a newbie I used automated DM with a basic Thank You message. And primary my reason was that I wanted to recognize my new followers and tell them Thank You. No more no less.

    But as I am getting more followers I can see that these kind of DMs is starting to clutter in my time line.

    And unfortunately to many send me links in their first DMs. I never open a link from someone I don’t know. Really surprised to see how many that do this. So I can only image how annoying this must be for someone with a much larger follower base then me.

    At the moment I don’t support a ban on automated DMs, but I will support some restrictions. How to incorporate restrictions I am not sure about, and who would control them I am not sure about either.

    SocialToo took a stand against DMs, and I think a lot of this was caused by auto DMs. So I understand the concerns.

    I can see that you might get different answers here depending on the amount of followers we have.

    Personally I am still learning, and it is important for me to listen to people like you (Darren) that have a large follower base and get insight in some of the problems you experience with Twitter. And then do like here getting input from from the Twitter community on the pros and cons on the various features we use almost daily on Twitter.

    This will help us prepare ourselves better, and also help to make Twitter a better place to be.


  • March 25, 2009

    they usually put me off, especially when they lead to a marketing site full of rehashed content and wall to wall “click me to earn $$$” signs.

  • March 25, 2009

    I hate em’ and tend to ignore those who send those and eventually get purged when I clean up my followings. But I really appreciate the real DM’s I get from real people.

  • March 25, 2009

    Great topic for much discussion!! For some time, I used to send auto DMs via and would mix it up whether to include a link or not, whether to merge in the field or not… then over time found that my DM Inbox was rendered practically useless as it was so filled up with my followers’ blah DMs.

    I thought I’d found a workaround by having my DM’s go to my Gmail account and my VA could sort, filter, flag. But, that was too laborious too.

    So, I nixed the outgoing auto DMs myself and opted out of incoming auto DMs- just as @jesse, developer of SocialToo, decided to nix the auto DM feature anyway. This practice definitely reached a pinnacle and I’m so glad likes of Jesse removed the feature, by way of industry example.

    I blogged about the topic here:

    There can be beneficial uses of auto DMs such as with TweetLater’s pro account – they offer the ability to broadcast by DM to your followers. But this really ought to be used with caution too.

  • March 25, 2009

    What if I was actually typing, “Thanks for the follow”? No one would know if it was an auto or not. Would it be best to save the thanks for @replies or none at all?

  • March 25, 2009

    The funniest message was from someone who was “looking forward to my tweets” even though she doesn’t follow anyone back. Odd.

  • March 25, 2009
    Carolyn Chan

    I don’t really care but when I feel like it I would test some of the auto DMs by sending a DM back just to see if they really mean it when they said, “Ask me anything about blah blah blah.” 10 out of 10 did not reply. wth. Now I auto delete auto DMs.

  • March 25, 2009

    Nice Jude…

  • March 25, 2009

    For me it really depends on the type of message. If you’re going to promote your product, site, or affiliate link in an aggressive manner, it will be a put off. But if you have a kind, gentle, and welcoming message, then no probs.

  • March 25, 2009

    I got three of those. One looked to be sincere. The other two included links to stuff they thought I would be interested in. To me the DM takes away from a very useful way for members to communicate with their fellow followers. If you get too many, then eventually there will come a day when you stop even bothering to read them.

  • March 25, 2009

    I use DM to welcome a new follower. I like them and enjoy getting them from others.
    The DM I send is exactly what I would say if I manually welcomed a new follower and I ask them a question about their business. I have received positive feedback from the inquiries I make regarding them.

    I don’t promote me or my business on the DM.

    So I guess for now I’ll keep using them.

  • March 25, 2009

    I don’t mind receiving auto DMs if they’re relevant, setting out the relationship to come. The auto dms that have got the rest a bad name are spam filled – now go look at my site type DMs. As your site is already on your profile so people can visit it from there, I see this as unnecessary. And if you dare to recommend I buy a product via your DM, I reserve the right to get on my high horse about it, lol

  • March 25, 2009

    1) I don’t mind auto-DMs that ONLY say thanks or what do I do
    2) I HATE new follower DM with LINKS auto OR NOT
    3) I use and DONT EVER SEE auto-DMs
    4) so I don’t care any more lol.
    5) Point 4 means that any “come see my stuff” links were manually typed-I’m VERY tempted to unfollow those people. I HATE links in 1st contact DM. I have never and would never send anyone that. If there are interested, they’ll look at the profile & go.

  • March 25, 2009
    Michael Buechele

    I currently use an automated DM with a link to a welcome video. I’ve received great responses from this and build solid relationships with it. With the tide turning against autofollows, I may have to rethink this. The goal was to add a human element to the tweets.

  • March 25, 2009

    I’m new to Twitter so I have no experience to go on. However, three of the twenty some odd people I followed sent me auto DMs. I didn’t have a problem with the messages. Two of them had links but they were not selling anything. However, I could see the annoyance if I were receiving many auto DMs from newly followed people.

    Overall I don’t think it’s a big deal unless someone is blatant about trying to sell me something.

  • March 25, 2009

    Automated DMs do have a purpose and value add use however it is getting abused by many twitter users. Don’t believe just check out this picture from Loic here.

    One of the companies making auto-DMs possible even killed their service. Read more about it here… it is a great look at the what it going on here.

  • March 25, 2009

    I love this poll! I hate the automated response. If I get a sense that people are using it, I’ll send them a message right back stating something like:

    Automated messaging on twitter is for people with minimal social skills – DM me back and I’ll still follow you…

    Is that harsh? Not sure, but really SOCIAL media is about being SOCIAL and connecting with people, not robotic crap like this.

    Thanks for bringing up the topic! This is a RT for sure!

  • March 25, 2009

    This is how I react. It’s as if you are at a party, or even a “networking event” (does anyone still have those?) and someone comes up, says, “nice to meet you, I’d like to have a conversation with you, but I’m too busy now, here’s my card and you can read all about me and my products on my website from the link there” and then goes. I.e. no conversation, no real human contact. I admit I was persuaded to use the DM approach for a while and then thought, why am I doing this? I want conversation, not a turnstile! Good on you Darren for running the poll.
    @JRGriggs I often type something very basic, but it’s not a “check out my junk” type response
    @Arlene I like to follow people back but so many people provide so little info about themselves it’s sometimes not even clear whether there is a real person there and I don’t follow companies or sales pages

  • March 25, 2009

    I don’t like the DM and I also don’t necessarily agree with auto follows either. I follow people because I have looked at their tweets and like what they have to say not because I am trying to grow my own follower list.

    Early on I felt a pang of guilt when people DM’d me thanking me for following and auto following me, and started doing the same then realised that I did not need or want to get involved with everybody, but anybody interested in what I had to say great, I was thrilled and thankful. But isn’t that the benefit of Twitter over say Facebook (one of them anyway) is that it is not permission based so people who may be interested in me may not be interesting to me (sorry if I offend anybody…i expect my follow rate to drop!!!!)

    Although to be fair, it was the DM with the message “I hope we can learn from each other” from somebody I followed who followed back that prompted me to really get involved so can’t be too critical!

    End result – don’t like the DM, but wouldn’t unfollow because of it. Dislike the auto follow more because I know I am not interesting to everybody who I find interesting and vice versa! Since I only have 160 followers, people who auto follow me and then find me boring is upsetting…I notice it more than you guys with thousands of tweetlovers!

  • March 25, 2009

    I don’t mind them if they refer me to a ebook or an article that may be of interest. I agree with Rob Jensen — it is getting abused by many twitter users — almost spamming.. Because there are so many in my inbox its very easy for me to miss the important DMs. I have to skim through them all to find any that may be of importance.

  • March 25, 2009

    I just voted “I don’t really care” but I think that if I was receiving 45 a day that would change. I am not prompted to check out a link in a Welcome DM – ever! as the reason I decided to follow them was based on their tweets, not their blog or website.

  • March 25, 2009

    I basically ignore DMs; 99% of them. The spammy DMs have nearly rendered the entire feature useless. However, I’m not offended by them. They are simply ineffective IMO. I will unfollow a person that aggressively pushes their products or services via tweets while adding nothing else of value. I think that it’s okay for people to promote their “stuff”, within reason. If we’re being honest, many people are on Twitter to drive traffic to their websites and sell products & services. But if that’s all they have to offer, I make a quick decision re: their service or product, if it’s not for me, I simply do not follow.

    Also, due to the # & volume of spammy auto DMs; the (overly) welcoming messages sometimes read as disingenuous.

  • March 25, 2009

    don’t care for them, don’t use them. I hand-follow everyone that is on my list, and I don’t necessarily follow you just because you follow me. I check every single new follower out and make a decision on following back.

    Nonetheless, I won’t unfollow based on an autoDM or even what it contains–if I chose to follow you it’s because I found something interesting, so whatever your autoDM contains, I asked for it.

  • March 25, 2009

    Anyone who sends auto dm’s is an automatic unfollow in my book, even immediate block if I’m in a bad mood.

    The next most annoying thing is people who say “thanks for following” publicly.

  • March 25, 2009

    I have a different perspective on it. I can’t be on Twitter 24 hours a day so just like at home, I leave a nice voicemail message. I see an Auto DM as a way to leave a twitter “voicemail” message by saying I’d love to learn more about you and as soon as I can I will contact you personally.

  • March 25, 2009

    the worst thing is that I am getting about 25-30 “thank you for following” DMs from people that I never followed in the first place and I CANNOT find anyone who can tell me how this is happening.

    Has anyone else experienced this? HELP!

  • March 25, 2009


    Anyone want to become a twitterionaire? Create a webapp that will automatically unfollow anybody who auto DM’s you. I’d sign up in a heartbeat.

  • March 25, 2009

    I consider automated DM’s Spam, and immediately unfollow the person. It does nothing for a persons brand or positive creditability as Ian Fernando says above. In fact it just tarnishes it. It seems no matter where we go in today’s world we run into spam.

  • March 25, 2009

    I can’t believe I am going to take the time to respond to this. :-) As it is just a ‘constant’ on the twitter stream. We all HAVE to agree we ALL use twitter in the ways it works for US. Why all the judgment and constant trying to make a ‘twitter etiquette’ that is supposed to fit all?

    If there is an app (SocialToo) that can disable DM’s than why don’t the people that don’t like them just sign up for that?

    Yes, I use an auto DM… it says…
    Yes, I confess, this is an auto Welcome! But! Plz don’t hesitate 2@me anytime! I Luv 2connect w/u! Tweet Up! Blessings!

    My thoughts are, WE each decide to follow someone, because we want to. We chose THEM to follow. I did not seek out my followers. Nor did who I followed 1st, seek out me.
    So, I kind of think the person who is doing the ‘following’ should tweet up and connect with that person they have chose to follow. I do not expect for someone I choose to follow to reach out to me. I should be @ting them & engaging a hello. Which I do.

    I respond to every person who @’s me. But I can’t send a personal msg to every new follower. It’s actually kind of rude to all the others who follow you too.

    I think this has a lot to do with people who Auto -Follow as well. If you auto follow and get 200 new followers a day (using whatever methods are going around these days) your going to get some auto DM’s! Sendem to a empty gmail act. (I use my filter on Tweetdeck to filter my own auto DM’s) I have people tweet up and be mad because they followed me that day and I had not followed back yet that evening.

    I am totally against using your auto DM to promote yourself in ANY ANY way. No links, no free stuff, no advice, just say hey… looking forward to hearing from you. Then answer back when they tweetup!

    Ok. This is long enough and the last time I speak up about auto DM’s.
    I know I am in the minority in this thread! But Will say, I have had lots copy my auto DM and also LOTS DM back saying how much they liked it.
    Noelle Mena @TakeRoot

  • March 25, 2009

    Dumb question…as a new twitter user, I haven’t seen much of the auto-dms…but how are those set up? I want to make sure my account isn’t sending an autoDM for new followers.

  • March 25, 2009
    Brian Ashenfelter

    It seems the people who are most annoyed by auto-DMs are those that follow lots of people (dozens or more per day). This is a very small but vocal minority so their opinion seems to mean more than it really should. My response is “I don’t really care” since I don’t play the numbers game and have gradually followed people over a long period of time.

    If everyone would stop following people that are “Internet/social media/SEO marketing experts” the amount of auto-DMs would drop immensely. If anything, boycott those folks not the people who genuinely think an auto-DM is just being courteous.

  • March 25, 2009

    Never even occurred to me to use them. Since Twitter is a quick, concise way to communicate things of relevance (or interest), why clutter it up with something automated.

    Plus, you’re right Darren, some people use auto DMs to pitch their business. Hullo, thanks for the follow. Wanna buy a new car? I delete those right away. Smacks of hard sell, “I’m only here to see what I can get”.

  • March 25, 2009

    JR Griggs – IMO if you want to DM a thank you for the follow that’s cool, so long as you’re following them back and they can reply to your DM if they want to. If you’re concerned that they’ll interpret your message as AutoDM spam, you can personalize your thank-you by using their name or referring to one of their tweets, or their page background, or something else that demonstrates it’s a manual message and not a bot.

  • March 25, 2009

    I did have an auto-DM set up to say thank you for following and look forward to catching up with you soon….but I’ve just taken it off because I’m SO behind in checking out other peoples Twitter and following them back, so they can’t DM me back at all – it defeats the point. I never included any links to my blog because I don’t want to be one of “those” people, but now I feel guilty for even saying hello via auto-DM.

  • March 25, 2009

    Darren and all,
    Maybe it is because I am an Old Fart, but to me it is just common courtesy to thank someone for doing something for you, like following you on Twitter. However I don’t have the time to reply to each new follower personally, so I just send them a quick message “Thank you for following me. I will only Tweet when I have something that I think will benefit you”. As far as anyone knows (except those reading this!), it could have been written by me personally, so I for one can’t see the harm in it.

    The thing that seems to have gotten under Darren’s skin I think is the canned messages like “Thanks for following me, now go buy my shit at this address”. If I were getting 40 or 50 of those a day I would get a bit hot under the collar too. Darren, as someone else mentioned, cancel the email notifications, and use something like TweetDeck or PeopleBrowsr to skim through the DMs, then just unfollow the SPAMmers. Maybe you could set up an autoDM saying “I have unfollowed you because you are a dick!”. :-)

    Bye for now,

  • March 25, 2009

    I don’t use them and frown upon those that do. Auto-DMs are one of the true banes of Twitter, hated by virtually everybody apart from marketers/spammers.

    To be honest, I think all DMs should be used sparingly, particularly if you’re trying to get the attention of a user with a lot of follows as they’ll inevitably have an inbox full of ‘em, no thanks to Twitter’s rather rubbish message system (i.e., you can’t mass-delete or even mark/delete).

    If you use auto-DMs, consider the message it gives to your followers. Think of it less as a friendly business card, and more unwanted junk mail.

  • March 25, 2009

    Those worrying if they might accidentally be sending auto-DMs. If you have just a standard account, don’t worry, you’re not. If you use, however, it gives you the option to opt out of both sending and receiving auto-DMs, which improves the Twitter experience significantly. :)

    Even if you don’t use Socialtoo, it’s worth signing up just to switch off the auto-DMs from their server. Trust me, as your Twitter account grows, you’ll get more and more of them if you don’t. Think of it like an adblocker in your browser.

  • March 25, 2009

    Twitter has become so elitist!
    A DM from a new follower is better than nothing at all, which shows you could care less about people who follow you.
    Don’t be a twitter snob! Many people joining twitter are new.
    Some of you veterans are the worst, following people and then immediately unfollowing them.
    You all have way too much time on your hands!

  • March 25, 2009

    Apart from being annoying clutter, I fail to see the point of automatic follows, automatic DMs etc.

    Why would we be on twitter just for your twitter account to talk to mine and vice versa?
    It’s about human interaction, or did I miss the point?!

    However, to a new user, it might appear as they they were being polite. They shouldn’t be vilified for not understanding how it could be seen.

  • March 25, 2009

    I hate them. For me, it shows a lack of appreciation for the medium. It’s personal so be personal. I would rather get no DM than an automated one.

    When I DM a new follower that I follow back, I always include their firstname and, if there’s something interesting in their bio, maybe I’ll reference it. It only takes a few secs and, unless you’re in the same follower category as, say, @stephenfry, most of the time it’s achievable.

  • March 25, 2009

    Don’t like ‘em. They feel fake. Sales pitches make me want to unfollow.

    I followed you because I want to hear what you have to say, not see what you’re pimping. If I wanted to see what you’re pimping I’d just look at your stream. In fact, if I followed you, more likely than not I found you via the same link you are cluttering my inbox with.

    But of course thanks to the get a gazillion follower apps, I guess the majority of your followers have no idea what you’re pimping. Gee, I wonder how many DMs those who follow everyone back get? I’m sure they read them all too. uh huh.

    Though I do get a chuckle when these people tell me they’re a social media/IM “expert”. OK maybe there is some value in those DMs!

  • March 25, 2009

    Ha. I find it funny to say that ALL auto follow dms are bad. I use them – except mine isn’t lame – I send a video of me warning the new follower of all the reasons why they will unfollow me. What I like about this humorous approach is that it starts a conversion and I often get people that immediately start interacting with me directly. And since that is the point of social networking, I’m going to say that there are ways you can use them effectively.

  • March 25, 2009

    I don’t use them because I think that they should be personalized and an automated DM cannot be that.
    And so I hate it when I get an obviously automated DM

  • March 26, 2009

    I’m in the Hate Them category b/c I’m all about the personal aspect of Twitter. I’ve unfollowed someone for sending an automated good morning message every morning when I posted my first tweet. I don’t seem to get a lot of those automated “thanks for following” but maybe that’s b/c I don’t follow many.

    I turned off the email DM thing a long time ago. Drove me nuts. I tend to take a lot of conversations to DM so as to not clutter up the Twitterstream, and I couldn’t stand the way it cluttered my email inbox. I just try to be sure to check my DMs a couple times a day so I don’t miss any.

  • March 26, 2009

    I used to use automated DMs until I attended a session on Twitter at Podcamp Toronto. A very heated discussion ensued where the majority of people HATE them with a purple passion. I started thinking about my opinion of receiving them and I have to admit I’ve stopped looking at them when I receive them.

    When people started using them they were a novelty plus I was just excited to get a DM. Now that I’ve been on Twitter and have a lot of followers myself and everyone seems to be using DMs I just don’t care.

    But the biggest reason to stop using them in my opinion is the lack of personal connection. Social media is about connecting and talking with individuals. Automated DMs are just Twitter’s version of SPAM. I don’t think they do much to build a relationship.

    I wrote a blog post about this and the comments seemed to agree with this view.

  • March 26, 2009

    They drive me crazy. They make it more difficult when I do want to send a dm to the person I just followed who I think is interesting. Crafting the dm to not look like an auto can be a little rough.

    It’s a SOCIAL network. If you want to say something to me, then @reply already.


  • March 26, 2009

    This post certainly seems to have struck a chord, judging by the number of responses I had to page through to get to leave a response.
    I don’t use autoresponders, although it is tempting as my followers grow. As I see it, the interesting thing here is that when I get an auto DM with a website in it, I NEVER look at the website, but when I get new followers, time permitting, I always look at the site listed in a follower’s profile.

    Just my two cents worth.

  • March 26, 2009

    I really hate the auto DMs, but I can understand why people use them–namely, the idea that some reply is better than none at all. If it is someone I am really interested in following, I ignore it and keep following them, but if it is from some internet marketer just trying to get me to purchase their latest greatest system to make a bunch of money in 24 hrs, I will un-follow without a second thought.

  • March 26, 2009

    I used this for a little while, although it was never automated for me. IMHO, automated crap is impersonal, lifeless, forgettable.

    If I did send one, I tried to read through the person’s latest tweets and make my DM somewhat relevant to their recent updates. And then I would add a link to a short video introducing myself. I haven’t sent one of these for a long time though. Too much work for not enough return.

  • March 26, 2009

    What do I think about those automated DMs? Well, I do not really care about getting them on Twitter but then again, I have not received many DM messages. In fact, I have only received one and it probably wasn’t automated because the followee started sending me about three other DMs a few minutes later, asking me questions and such (we had like a six degrees of separation thing going on from another website that we were both a member of) so maybe that would not count.

    I do not send automated DMs and I would probably not care if I got them unless it became too much, like you mentioned the automated messages crowding your DM box. If I got a lot of automated DMs on twitter, I would not like that. I would rather this feature be used for something more relevant, like a real message such as one user sending me something to clarify his points from a conversation that I joined on the twitter boards.

    Automated DMs are not very useful.

  • March 26, 2009

    My auto-response says: “Thanks for the follow. I’m curious as to why you decided to follow me?” It’s a question that helps me do research on why people choose to follow me. The responses can sometimes help me keep on track and post more of that kind of content. I don’t like auto DM’s that pitch products or link to something I may not be interested in. They don’t know me yet so how can they “sell” me?

  • March 26, 2009

    I don’t like auto-DMs. Even worse are the ones that identify themselves as auto-DMs (as if 1) that makes it all better and 2) I didn’t notice on my own).

    I try to send a personal DM to everyone that follows my organization (with the exception of the recent spam marketing profiles). I follow the link to their profile and try to send them a note about common interests or latest tweets or, if all else fails, just to say thanks. I rarely include a link to our website unless it is completely relevant, because I don’t want them to think I’m trying to sell them something. I’d prefer to try to build a relationship first.

    What’s funny is, considering how many times I’ve done this, it doesn’t really seem to make a difference. It takes a decent amount of time and no one really seems to care one way or the other.

    I think that perhaps the auto-DM phenomenon has made everyone view ANY DM received in response to a follow as suspect, which is a shame.

  • March 26, 2009

    If I get an auto “thanks for following,” I don’t like them, but I don’t get too worked up. However, if I get and auto “thanks for following. be sure to check out my blog and my facebook page and my…,” then I usually unfollow.

  • March 26, 2009

    I hate them! About 50% of the time I unfollow the person who sent them.

    I got into an argument with someone who sent DM saying how much he liked sending them to introduce himself. I tried to tell him that it didn’t matter how he felt , if people didn’t like receiving them, he should stop. But he didn’t care! Exactly the opposite of listening to your readers.

  • March 26, 2009

    I approve of DM when they are used for personal messages… Auto DMs, on the other hand, saying thanks and “pls visit my site”, bye-bye.

  • March 26, 2009

    As some have mentioned here, I am also choosey about who I follow or follow back. I don’t find it that cumbersome to write a quick DM to new followers, thanking them for the follow. For someone who said, “how can you tell that is not an auto message?” I include their name – which I hope makes it look real. I ALWAYS check out people before I follow them so I can sometimes add a bit something more personal to my DM as well.

    I realize that we all use Twitter differently. But for me it is about conversation and relationships. There is absolutely no place for auto DM’s nor auto follow-back in that paradigm.

    I wish there was room in my bio to write that I don’t welcome auto DM’s.

  • March 26, 2009

    I neglected to mention – I am saving the URL of this post and when I have time will send it to people who tweet me auto DM’s with something like:
    You may wish to consider how many people on Twitter react to auto-DM’s.

  • March 26, 2009

    I don’t use DM autoresponders myself but I think that in certain situations they can offer value to the Twitter service.
    I’m working on a new Twitter autoresponder that uses keyword triggering to only send messages to those to request information directly, thus following the ethos of Twitter as a permissive medium.
    I would appreciate any thoughts or guidance anyone would like to share.

  • March 27, 2009

    I think it depends. Shameless plugs are lame. My DM, however, is a link to my blog and it is entitled “What You can Expect From My Twitterfeed.”

    Then, I list what kind of info they will see. Some people have said they love it. I obviously don’t know if others hate it, but this way…you know what you are getting from me.

    Follow me and test it out….

    not all DM’s are evil…just lame ones.

  • March 27, 2009

    I don’t care either way. I look at a person’s tweet stream to determine if I want to follow back. If they have lots of replies and RTs, then I’ll follow back regardless who they are. I completely ignore the DMs.

  • March 27, 2009

    Yes i know that including me there its alot of person that dont like doze kind of masseges, i think several times before i send one to any body.

    I dont send a DM to say thank you to fallow me, entead i send a replay. About doze DM i dont even put atention on it, the bad side its that it full my DM box whit things i dont need.

    I dont see what twitter could do to change that, in that case they need more personal control the same ones that send doze caind of DM have to notice that its dozen work out how they would like to.

    Than you for the pots.

  • March 27, 2009

    I don’t like automated ones. Self promotional ones are even worse. I don’t have a relationship with you yet, so don’t try to sell to me through a DM right off the bat. Matter of fact, it probably won’t work later either unless I’ve asked for a solution.

  • March 28, 2009

    I’m on the fence about automated DMs, because I know that not all people have all day to sit on Twitter or have the time to sit down every night and great each new follower. Some of us have day jobs. In a perfect world, everyone using Twitter could great and have a conversation with a new follower, but not everyone can. Automated DMs make it easy to say “Hi, thanks for following!” to numerous people, without having to take time out of your day.

    On the other hand, there are a lot of automated “promotional” DMs out there. You know the one’s — “Hi! Thanks for following! Check out my online product!!!!” — These get under my skin and I think it’s just distasteful. I always assume that people using Twitter for marketing purposes will eventually try to get me to view something that will give them a bit of income, but I think they should work for it a little bit and not be so impersonal about the whole process.

    So, in conclusion, I think it’s all up to how you use the tools you have at hand.

  • March 31, 2009

    In my auto-DMs, I used to recommend others I thought were worth following (a valuable service I thought) and no self-promotion.

    After being challenged by someone in the music industry on this practice (and their reference to my blog post critique on the right and wrong ways for public figures to engage Twitter), I stopped the practice.

    This experience and interaction with this new follower resulted in a blog post itself ( Just one of the great things about Twitter.

    I agree that the only thing I should see in my DM column is tweets from people I’ve already formed a relationship with.

  • November 5, 2009

    it sure takes the “handwritten note” touch out of it, huh? Boy, is THAT a dying art!

  • December 6, 2009

    My votes seemed to go along with what the majority has been saying. Most people don’t use the auto-DMs but most people also don’t unfollow people for using them. If you insist on using them, don’t use them for shameless plugs please :)

  • February 19, 2010

    Personally, I have no problem with automatic direct messages from people I follow.

    It’s a nice idea to get more customers and sales for a website.

    But, I am speaking as a twitter user that doesn’t send automatic direct messages to people that followed me.

    About 15 twitter members followed me, then I followed them all back, and I received those 15 direct messages, that included a link back to their company website also thanking me for following them, ;)

    So, if I get automatic direct messages if I follow someone, then it doesn’t really affect me in any way.

  • April 14, 2010

    I’ve received quite a few DM’s which seem to have been automated so i decided to Google the term and ended up here.
    Like a lot of people i use Twitter to promote my business and wondered what the general consensus were for auto-DM’s as they appear to offer an avenue for providing information to other resources.

    It appears that nearly everyone on here is in strong dis-agreement with them, yet no one (from nearly all the responses i’ve read) has admitted to using them for self promotional purposes. So who are the people that actually send auto DM’s? It seems like some of Twitter community like to take the moral high ground.

    Once a piece of functionality is in place then people will use it, for personal use or for personal gain. I have no real issue with auto Dm’s but i’m undecided on whether i will use them.

  • May 29, 2010

    It’s all about N E E D guys!

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