Here’s a photo of an exchange I had on Twitter with a recent follower, who I kindly followed back. I’ve blocked out his name and photo to save any potential embarrassment.
For those of you unfamiliar with this phenomenon (and who may be questioning my seeming unprovoked bitchiness), some people have their Twitter accounts set to automatically send you a direct message once the two of you follow each other. As people attempt to grow their networks, they’ll cast a huge net and follow a bunch of random people hoping for a few followbacks. (I ain’t no followback girl! – Gwen Stefani, as a hacky jokewriter)
Quick aside: I choose to followback more often than not even though I know these craven social climbers are probably immediately muting me as soon as they’ve got the connection, but hey, I’m trying to grow something, too. Granted, I’m not willing to do the social media equivalent of just dragging my net along the bottom of the river to see what gets caught in there, but a little follower bump barter is generally okay with me.
The thinking behind this type of transaction is that if what you’re getting is a followback, whoever you’ve just connected with probably didn’t bother to look at whatever you’re peddling with any great detail. A direct message is a lesser used channel that is almost guaranteed to get a look from your newest connection, so why not send a pre-written message to all your new followers?
I’ll reiterate here what I said to Mr. Auto-DM above. Because automated direct messages are tacky and awful. Instead of inspiring people to check out your work, I’d argue they have the opposite effect. I will never click a link sent to me in an Auto-DM because I want nothing to do with a product, an artist, or a project that mercenary.
Hey, new follower I’ve never met and have been connected with for five seconds… I bet you’ll love this thing I’m working on!
Ohmygod it’s like you know me better than I know myself! I was hoping someone would cold pitch me something I’ve never heard of up until this very moment via form text!
I like Twitter and defend it to the doubters, the scoffers and the non-believers. The reason I defend it is because I curate my own stream. It’s an opt-in service, and like most things in life, you get out of it what you put in.
The exception to that rule: Auto-DMs. No one opts in to the Twitter Auto-DM. It’s the door-to-door salesman of the social media world. Uninvited. Unwelcome. Tactless.
Do not send a Twitter Auto-DM.