Lately, my phone has been beeping incessantly with automated direct messages from new people I’m following on Twitter. The messages typically say things like “hey, thanks for following and please check out my blog”.
Today, I decided I’ve had enough and I turned off SMS notifications for Twitter.
Essentially, automated direct messages on Twitter are like e-mail spam – I don’t want them, they clog up my “inbox” and they take away from the messages that matter. These messages only think about the sender and not about the recipient. It’s all about getting more visitors to their blog or encouraging people to check out their product. These overt sales tactics do nothing but turn people off.
Do you want to have a relationship with a robot? Neither do I. Social media is about personal relationships. It’s about connecting with people, creating a dialogue and communicating ideas. When this goes away, social media is pointless.
To many, social media is about attracting a large number of followers. I disagree. Quality trumps quantity any day of the week for me. I would much rather have 300 engaged followers than 30,000 followers who have never communicated with me. Do I appreciate the people that follow me? Sure I do. But, I don’t use an automated message to let people know that. I send them an @reply, strike up a conversation and follow people back if I find them interesting. In my mind, that’s certainly better than sending a generic message encouraging people to check out my blog.
Am I saying that direct messages on Twitter are not useful? No. I think that direct messages can be a great way to communicate with people about things the whole world doesn’t need to see. Want to meet me for coffee? Send me a DM. Want to thank me for following you? Ditch the robot.
What do you think about automated direct messages? Do you think they are useful or are they just spam?
Image credit: Swansea Photographer