Home > Social Media, Twitter > The Direct Message Dilemma

The Direct Message Dilemma


For those of you that don’t know, there are three ways to communicate on Twitter –

  • the broadcast tweet everyone can see
  • the @ tweet everyone can see, but is directed at a particular person
  • the direct message or DM.

The honest truth is there are a lot of spammers on Twitter, but they’re pretty easy to manage by creating lists or unfollowing.  Direct messages on the other hand are a real dilemma.  I’m using a service to autofollow people based on targeted keywords.  That means I’m building a list of people to follow in hopes they will follow me back.  If they don’t within a certain period of time, my software automatically unfollows.

The dilemma is during the follow, I get sent a direct message and it pops up in my email.  Every single autofollow that has sent a direct message has been automatically generated or spammy.  People who use Twitter ignore direct messages.  I send them straight to the trash.

How can a marketer use direct messaging effectively if nobody reads them?  I don’t think they can.  So should we ignore this useful piece of technology?  Perhaps.

I know I don’t have a direct message set up.  I have seen a few interesting ones.  My favorite was the one that admitted it was a bot, but invited me to connect on Facebook.  I didn’t, but I still thought it was a good idea.

Matt Singley has a suggestion for Twitter, allow a separate controller for direct messages so a user can turn it off without unfollowing.

Please give your users the ability to turn direct messages on and off globally, and when on, give us the ability to select who can and cannot send us direct messages. I want to be able to follow people without them having the ability to send direct messages to me.

What do you think about direct messaging on Twitter.  Have you found an effective way to use it?  Do you know about it?  Do you read them?  Let me know in the comments.

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