Social Media Faux Pas – Direct Message New Twitter Followers

DM from Twitter Bad Decorum

Don’t Send Automatic Direct Messages To New Twitter Followers

Okay. I’m getting on my soap box. Watch out! But for a good reason. After more than 200 times, I’m fed up. If you’ve done it, you’re alienating and abusing your followers.

Why is it that Twitter users feel so compelled to auto respond to new followers? Usually when I get the annoying direct messages that are clearly generated by bots and have no personality and are so transparently promotional, I usually brush it off as reasonable because I naively believe that the Twitter user set up the auto-reply before anyone was seriously using Twitter.

But things have changed. There’s no excuse anymore.

Today I decided to follow an excellent travel photographer whose work is stunning and creative (though looking through his portfolio of primarily buildings, scenics and still lifes; read: barely any people so perhaps social skills aren’t his/her forté) I just can’t imagine someone this good would resort to something so transparently indulgent and self-serving. Have I ranted enough? Not that I care, but there was no auto-follow of my Twitter account, clearly an indication of something, wouldn’t you say?

Okay. I’m done with the photographer. I apologize for isolating this particular Twit(terer), because fact is, this happens once a week or so. Thank god not as often when I first started tweeting back in 2007.

Word to the wise and less initiated, it’s okay to make mistakes and learn by doing so. But you don’t need to thank every new follower, publicly or through direct message (DM). Really, you don’t. And if you feel so compelled to use the Direct Message, which is a right one earns when a Twitterer decides to follow you, be sure your Direct Message is relevant, earnest and personal. This is social media after all.

Another tip: you don’t need to follow everyone who follows you, either. I watch my new followers before deciding to officially follow them by keeping an active column in TweetDeck that lists my most recent followers. Because I don’t want to miss out on anything, do I?

So if you’re still auto responding to new followers, unplug the thing—will you? It’s intrusive, annoying and bad decorum. If you want, send me a personal message so I know it’s really you. I guarantee you’ll get a warm welcome rather than a raging rant.