The absolute #1 pain in the neck Twitter nuisance for me these days are the hordes of Twitter auto direct messages I receive after following someone. It has practically made Twitter DM a useless tool for me. If anyone actually sends me a legitimate DM, it’s lost in a sea of spammy auto DMs encouraging me to check out ‘insert product/service/website here’.
I understand that it is impossible to manage a large following by personally welcoming each person that follows you, and it’s not my expectation that anyone would do this. I rarely do unless there are unique circumstances such as someone I’ve stumbled across that has much in common with me. But let’s be honest here, people and businesses are using Twitter auto DM to pimp something, which I get. This sort of thing has been done for years on a variety of different mediums. What makes it so frustrating, is that Twitter has not released features that allow it’s users to combat this. Much like an email spam filter, there needs to be ways to block these auto DMs. I know recently SocialToo has launched some options to help, but it’s certainly not as useful as a Twitter supported feature could be.
I’m certainly not the only advocate for seeing this trend go away. Sites like StopAutoDM.com are springing up to help buck the trend. There’s also some useful chatter on the subject on a recent TechCrunch article.
Some of you might say, “Just unfollow those that auto DM, you have the power to filter it out”. Yes, this is true, but just because someone is utilizing auto DM, doesn’t necessarily mean that person or or organization has nothing valuable to offer. Often times people just don’t realize that some of the tactics they use are not an ideal way of communicating. While I disapprove of the tactic, I don’t automatically categorize the user as spam. In some cases, yes, in many, not necessarily.
I’m not implying that auto DM tactics should not be available to those who wish to use it. I’m all for businesses, organizations, and people having the freedom and ability to evangelize their products and services in ways that make sense for their business. What I’m saying is that as an end user, I should have access to tools that allow me to control whether I see those messages or not. Yes, Twitter is a free service, but it’s not like they are making money through these tactics to keep the service afloat. I can tolerate some small, targeted advertising in exchange for using a tremendous tool like Twitter, but we’ve certainly reached a point where we need some tools to better manage Twitter.
I can’t imagine that the click through rates to links in Twitter auto DMs are that high, let alone conversion rates, but it would certainly be interesting to see. I haven’t found any studies on the subject, but Mashable posted some interesting finds on overall click through rates for Tweeting as a whole here. If the CTR on tweet links is roughly around 1.5% or so, it’s got to be much lower on auto DMs.
So, if you utilize Twitter auto DMs, I’d be interested to hear your take. Why do you use it, and what are the results? And if you knew that your audience hated them, would you stop?