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Thou Shalt Not Auto-Direct Message On Twitter

I’m going to go on my soapbox just one more time in the hopes that this message goes viral, spreads through the Interwebs, and finally convinces every “online marketer”, “social media guru” and “eBook entrepreneur” that they should, once-and-for-all, turn off Twitter auto-direct messaging.

If you’re not familiar with the concept, you’re lucky. Basically, some Twitter marketing software like SocialOomph and TweetAdder allow you to set up canned, automated welcome messages that are immediately sent to a new follower once you have followed them and they follow back. The message usually looks something like this:

This auto-direct message on Twitter gives you an offer to promote traffic to your Website

This auto-direct message on Twitter gives you an offer to promote traffic to your Website
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or this:

This auto-direct message on Twitter invites you to visit a Facebook page

This auto-direct message on Twitter invites you to visit a Facebook page

or this:

This auto-direct message on Twitter invites you to subscribe to a YouTube channel

This auto-direct message on Twitter invites you to subscribe to a YouTube channel

So what’s the harm in sending a simple welcome message and an invite to connect? Nothing, really, other than the fact that they are the Twitter equivalent of Spam. Twitter is supposed to be about building genuine connections with people.’s tough to do in 140 characters or less, but that’s what makes it interesting. And these types of automated messages simply clog up the tubes, making our Direct Message inboxes almost worthless.

In fact, I almost missed an direct message from a friend tonight because I have desensitized myself to the tons of junk that come into my Twitter inbox every day.

So…one last plea to the masses. I know it seems like a good idea to say “hey” to your new followers. It is a good idea. Send them a public tweet. Welcome them…don’t sell to them or invite them to connect on other channels. If they want to, they’ll find their way there.

In the meantime, because I know this is likely an effort in futility, I’m asking for a little divine intervention.

Dear God Please Add Thou Shalt Not Send Auto Direct Messages On Twitter As The 11th CommandmentFeel free to share and spread the word. Who knows, maybe the message will get out this time and everyone will turn off the auto-messaging.



Rent The Dress

Monday 3rd of June 2013

Great Post Sean, automated DM is a pain it takes forever to delete them out. Thanks for the post.

Michael Eisbrener

Monday 1st of April 2013

There are NO absolutes is only the second absolute I know. Yours is false. While the vast majority of DM is junk, auto or otherwise, there is likely for the discerning mind, an appropriate use of an auto DM. Your mantra is a mind virus for the uninformed and too lazy to make something work correctly. A near majority of those responding in the affirmative follow me at one or more locations. The remainder never will.


Thursday 28th of February 2013

I'm very new to this social thing, only having really done anything much with LinkedIn and Twitter in the last month or so. I was considering sending a direct message just thanking people for following, saying "many thanks for the follow, I hope my posts are useful to you!". But from what I read here, even that would only clutter peoples inboxes and not be welcome?


Laura Bean

Thursday 7th of February 2013

And yet they seem to be as popular as ever! So much so that I would rather not have an inbox as only a fraction of the rubbish I get is a genuine interaction with a human being.

I run social media accounts for a number of brands and so am probably more exposed to this than most people (more Twitter accounts to check) and I often worry about missing genuine messages.

I cannot imagine what possible value this would bring - unless you are hoping to dupe your followers into thinking that you are genuinely contacting them - and if that is the case, it doesn't suggest that you have a lot of respect for them.

At best it's annoying - at worst it must lose so much business!!


Tuesday 22nd of January 2013

So you don't like auto DM's? Pretty simple solution, don't send them & unfollow anyone that sends them to you. For some niches they are incredibly useful though, I'm a social media marketer and whilst on the whole I stay away from them I have a couple of accounts that respond extremely well to auto DM's.

Get off your high horse & stop telling people what to do - especially with religious undertones!

Sean R. Nicholson

Tuesday 22nd of January 2013


I'd be interested to hear how DMs actually work for you and what metrics you consider to make them a success. Help me understand the value. From the overwhelmingly positive feedback I have seen on this post and image, I'd say most people truly despise Auto DMs on Twitter. Rather than just lecturing on why I should stop hating them, share what you think makes them successful.