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Automatic Direct Messages on Twitter

So the proverbial poop hit the fan today on Twitter. It started with me calling out a new follower on what I thought was an automatic direct message (turns out it wasn’t). If you don’t know what Twitter is, skip this whole blog post.

If you know Twitter but don’t know what an automatic direct message (ADM) is, you’re lucky.  I’m inundated with them.

Here’s how it works: A person follows me. I get the notification in my email. I click on the link that takes me to that person’s Twitter profile. I read some of their tweets. I go to their website if they have one listed. I click on some of the links in their tweets. I usually follow back if they seem interesting and not spammy.

Here’s the part where it gets nasty. As soon as I push their follow button, the little bit and byte elves in the fairy machines in magic Twitterland run and get that user’s pre-made message. This is the dreaded ADM. The elves work their little hands off sending that ADM directly to my direct message inbox.

Mind you, this follower and I have never once conversed. I hardly know this person. And they followed ME first. It becomes evident why next.

They follow me, hoping for a follow-back. Once they get the lovely follow-back, they send a DM with basically the same info in their bio description on their twitter homepage. It’s a link back to their site, which is most likely selling something or promoting some brand or most likely their SEO services.

Sometimes, though rarely, these new followers immediately unfollow me after the ADM is sent. With those people it is evident that they just want to ADM people their websites. I sometimes block them after this depending how I feel that day.

So, back to the poop hitting the fan.

I hate ADMs and I think they hurt users rather than help. Most Twitter users agree with me. Why do I feel safe in making the assumption that the majority of Tweeters don’t like ADMs? I’ve been ranting about this for many weeks now, and I’ve been hitting up Tweetscan pretty regularly to monitor the conversation about them. The positive statements are rare. I’d estimate the total of positive statements about ADMs at about 5%. That’s being generous.

@kaydenclark saw my rantings about the ADMs today, and sent an @reply to my timeline. The @reply contained an example of an ADM from @ScottMonty, the Ford representative on Twitter::

Kaydenclark: @ScottMonty ADM’s this to every and all new followers: “Thanks for the follow! If you ever want to get my attention, just ‘@’ me.”

@ScottMonty has over 6,000 quite loyal followers. When I criticized this DM::

@kaydenclark even that auto DM sounds a bit snobby. “If you want my attention, @ me” ? What, he’s just collecting ppl and not listening? ,

@sconsult got into the mix, and @ScottMonty came on board.

Then @ScottMonty surveyed his followers to tell me whether or not they thought his ADM was personal or spammy. I didn’t understand why I was getting one word replies like “personal” at first. His tweet didn’t show up in Tweetdeck right away.

I made the point that Scott can’t survey the followers who may have dropped him after an ADM. Or, the people who just ignore him, or the people who felt a little shafted but didn’t pay it much attention. It was his unofficial survey, I know. It may be better than nothing since we will never be able to measure properly.

Anyway, someone came out and said I insulted @ScottMonty, and I wasn’t really sure where I hadn’t been respectful. I asked, but got no response.

Behind the scenes was a very polite and mutually respectful DM conversation between me and @ScottMonty. He didn’t agree to examine the real effect his ADM’s have on his and/or Ford’s reputation, but he did witness the firestorm that erupted on Twitter. I reminded him that I didn’t start it, @sconsult and @kaydenclark did. I apologized for bringing him more crap to deal with on an already busy Twitter day.

Strong emotions came out against the ADM’s but @ScottMonty fans came out in force too. I heard from his fans, most of whom were also big time fans of his ADM (some did feel it was spammy, others didn’t realize it was an auto response). But none of them came out in defense of the ADM in general. They seemed to think I was dissing Scott. I wasn’t against Scott. My point was that auto DM’s can exact a price from your reputation and you should be aware of what the majority of Tweeters feel about them.

My fellow PushMyFollow podcaster @banannie added that in Scott’s case, his followers might not be aware of how to use Twitter to reach him or the Ford Company, so his ADM isn’t as offensive as others. I considered this. I’m still thinking about it.

In another DM conversation, @gahlord called the issue a “great topic with lots of feelings on both sides.” Again, I only saw passion for @ScottMonty. I didn’t see much passion for the ADM. One business person came out and said that he needs “eyes” on his website and uses the ADM to send coupons. I noted that this user @RizzoTees, uses his bio to explain that followers get an auto coupon in a DM. I asked @ScottMonty to consider this mature use of transparency practice. I chatted with @RizzoTees for a bit. He says he does get hits from the ADM’s but he wasn’t forthcoming on the real numbers. Another user took an informal survey of her own twitterverse and came up with the dislike side as the majority.

@gahlord, in DM, asked the question “What permission is intrinsic in the ‘follow’ action?” In that same vein, @sconsult asked me if ‘bacn’ might be a better term to use instead of ‘spam.’

Spam is truly unsolicited. You haven’t signed up for anything yet you still get bombarded. Bacn is the stuff you get that you haven’t asked for after you signed up for some service.

From UrbanDictionary.com:

“It’s any email you receive that isn’t spam, but isn’t exactly a personal message either. Your electronic phone bill is bacn. Your Google alerts are bacn.

Bacn. It’s better than spam.

Coined by Chris Brogan”

Some may think bacn is a better term, but I still call it spam.

From UrbanDictionary.com:

1. Canned meat. Extremely cheap (considering)
2. Unsolicited mail/e-mail sent out in mass quantities. Usually not even addressed by name to the person who receives it.
In gaming, refers to a player who throws grenades indiscriminately, many at a time. Generally an issue in Team Fortress. Although lately has been expanded to include any overused gun/combo/move/tactic/etc.

#2 is the relevant definition here. ADM’s are sent out en masse to every new follower. They are not addressed by name (but just wait. Some Twitter API kid will write a script to integrate the first name from the profile in the ADMs).

Many people see a difference between “ @ me if you need me” and “buy a Ford now now now!” (thanks for the example @KyleRohde). I don’t. Both are impersonal notes that send the signal that you don’t really care to find out who is following you. You haven’t looked at their profile, yet you find that it’s OK immediately cross over into more personal direct messaging?

I use my DM’s for personal messages and chatting. I think invading that space with your agenda without the interest of a conversation with me is rude. You can @reply your message. Leave it out of DM.

But no, @ScottMonty or others won’t @reply these messages because then people wouldn’t follow them. Their timelines would look like an infinity loop of the same tweet, and they’d lose their audience. Instead, they’d rather hide how they are using and perhaps abusing, Twitter.

Some noobs use ADM’s to “thank” followers.

Firstly, why are we thanking followers? It’s cool that someone would like to talk to me but I’m not collecting numbers. I don’t come home from a party and brag that 20 people tapped me on the shoulder. That would be weird. High school kids talk constantly about who has poked them in Facebook that day. This isn’t high school.

Secondly, I’m dubious of the humility in the thanking. Some of these grateful souls turn right around and unfollow me in hopes that they can keep their follow numbers higher than their followees, as if this is some measure of fame. I refuse to play that game too.

It seems as though other people on Twitter aren’t getting the same number of ADMs as me. I get at least one or two a day. You can see how annoying and insincere this can get.

The ADMs aren’t going to stop. People will spam where and when they can. I’d like Twitter to give me an option to block all ADMs.

What do you think? Do you think there is a value difference between ADM’s? What permissions do you give to followees when you sign up to follow them? Has ADM hurt or helped your business? Have you noticed if people drop you after your ADM?

I’d like to hear what you have to say.

I’ve added the screen shots of my Twitter feeds today. Maybe you can make sense of them. I did not add my DM conversations, as they are not public and I didn’t get permission.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Jamie 12 December 2008, 10:39 pm

    I am a newbie that doesn’t know my way around Twitter but at the same time. I have @Scottmonty and he did respond. Just to state that he has tried to help me before.

    I just learned a heck of a lot more then I would have had you guys NOT been spouting off. I think it was a wake up call to how things work and you made the conversation interesting. To think that I thought you bickering about cars and the car industry originally when I broke into the conversation.

    • PurpleCar 16 December 2008, 11:33 am

      Jamie I’m sorry I didn’t reply to you! Thanks for telling me that the spouts at least had some value! I appreciate it. I am pretty convinced now that the general mainstream public on Twitter won’t know the difference between an auto direct message and a personal one. It will take a few years of learning curve for them to catch up. A lot of false good rapport can be built up between now and then. Honestly, people are already so cynical. When they find out that the ‘personal’ message they received from a famous person wasn’t personal but automated, they won’t be surprised. They will probably excuse it away as part and parcel of the same old communications with celebrities.

      So as I’m thinking about it, I think people won’t be pissed enough about getting an ADM to block you. They will be mildly annoyed and it will reinforce cynicism, but they may still click on your spam.

      I’ll probably still block those ADMers though. I stupidly believe in a world where communications are real. I’d rather have no communications than automated ones.

      Thanks for commenting! I appreciate it. So sorry for my late response!

  • scottmonty 13 December 2008, 1:31 am

    I’ve gotta tell you, we’re just not going to see eye-to-eye on this. You clearly have much more time on your hands than I do, not only to dedicate to checking out your every follower, but to write this post. I don’t have that luxury, unfortunately.

    I think you’re getting hung up on the technology rather than the practice. Let me ask you this: if I took the time to send the exact same DM that I use as an ADM currently (“Thanks for the follow! If you ever want to get my attention, just ‘@’ me.”), would you consider it spammy? You need to ask yourself if it’s the message or the method. I’m not sure that it necessarily makes a difference if it’s one that is well-intentioned.

    And it’s not spam – my friend Chris Brogan is absolutely right to call in bacn. It’s a DM that was solicited, by the very action of following the other person. You know you’re going to get DMs from them.

    You wrote: “I think invading that space with your agenda without the interest of a conversation with me is rude. You can @reply your message. Leave it out of DM.”
    Not sure what you think my “agenda” is, but do you realize that your solution would have me spam all of Twitter, rather than just an individual? How’s that an improvement?

    I would never post a URL in a DM because I think that makes it more spammy. I’m not trying to sell anything to anyone with my DMs – my goal is to acknowledge people who’ve followed me, and help them understand how I prefer to be communicated to on Twitter.

    You ask why we’re thanking followers. Um, because it’s common courtesy? And you used the analogy: “I don’t come home from a party and brag that 20 people tapped me on the shoulder.” That’s a false analogy. The correct analogy would have been: “When someone shows up to a party I’m throwing, I thank them for coming.”

    And your theory about gaming the followers/following system is beyond me. I’m too busy actually working to pay attention to the numbers.

    To me, this entire exercise, while it may have helped people understand that ADMs exist, is a non-issue.

    • PurpleCar 13 December 2008, 11:37 am

      Thanks for commenting! (I thank people for comments, not for following me).

      I’m sorry you felt personally insulted by my post. Your condescending attitude about my work doesn’t fit the profile I hear about you. You have your work (which, I am sure your higher ups pay attention to your follow numbers, by the way) and I have mine. I think about social media, podcast, blog and work in this space for a living, and I don’t find it necessary to insult my efforts by saying I “clearly have much more time on [my] hands.” That kind of phrasing quickly disintegrates into Godwin’s Law.

      I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and just apologize here about whatever it was in my post that you took personally. I said I was still thinking about @banannie’s opinion that you and other big brick and mortar representatives may have to use Twitter differently. You must have felt like I called you personally a spammer. It was ADMs I hate, not you. I don’t even know you.

      It’s OK if we disagree on this. I’m not out to ruin your reputation online or off. Unfortunately you can do that yourself. If you want me to delete your comment I will. It doesn’t portray you well. You told me in DM you were having a putting-out-the-fires day yesterday so I’ll take your insulting tone as a VERY late night reaction. I hope you can do the same for my post.

      OK, all that being said, here’s my thoughts on your comments about the issue:

      Unless I come down on @banannie’s side when this is
      all through, I guess I still think auto direct messages from anyone are
      spam. They aren’t bacn because the act of following
      someone gives implicit permission to get an impersonal auto responder
      that isn’t intended to start a conversation. On the other hand, @banannie is right in her hint that most of your followers,
      being mainstreamers, won’t realize you are sending an ADM. I had a
      Twitter exchange with one of them and he didn’t realize it. If that is
      truly the case, perhaps the disenfranchisement people feel when they
      realize your “personal” DM wasn’t at all an individual message won’t be
      enough to outweigh the initial elation of being contacted by you. More
      research needs to be done in this area.

      If your DM’s would be considered spam in the regular timeline (which they would), then why are they not considered spam in the DM timelines of individuals? I don’t know the answer to this. I’m just throwing it out there. Also, why does an overt link in an ADM make it more spammy? The link back to you and your profile is implicit. (I suppose there is a difference between explicit and implicit…)

      Twitter isn’t my party. It is a network run by other people. Everyone in my space is also in infinite other spaces. I think my Twitter analogy of “hey look at all the people in my entourage” is more accurate than “I thanked people for coming to my party.” If I thank people who follow me, it puts a value on the follow. If follows are valuable, then I will seek them out instead of just being myself. If follows are valuable, then competition for numbers becomes a measurable goal. The fact is there are a ton of spammers (not you, I mean REAL spammers) on Twitter that will follow anyone. If follows are valuable, these spammers devalue everyone’s follow numbers. Everyone hates those CEO people who just are looking for numbers, numbers, numbers. That’s the extreme example but you get my point. If I value followers in a “oh thank you thank you thank you it means so much to me that you think I’m popular enough to follow” way, then I’m in need of some
      serious therapy. Also, if I thank them for following, that in turn implies that I’m obligated to deliver quality content and apologize when I don’t. If you seen my twitter stream at all, you can attest that I deliver all sorts of content. I deliver what I think is fun and interesting and just put it out into the ether. I don’t think twice about who it might insult or elate. If I did, that would be gatekeeping myself. Thanking followers places a self-esteem and limiting value on followers, and I’m not willing to sink into that quagmire.

      I do put a value on follows, but not in the same acquisition-oriented way. I personally keep my follower numbers down by blocking all spammers. I try to ensure that all of my followers are real people. This keeps my network ‘clean.’ If people are looking through my follow and followers for someone interesting, I don’t want to make them sort through crap. Also, if they see me chatting with someone, I want them to know that I’m chatting with someone worthy of checking out.

      Other people don’t worry what kind of flotsam they have in their follow numbers. That’s ok too. But we should all look at follower numbers with a very skeptical eye, and move away from treating a high follower number with some sort of intrinsic or esteemed value. It doesn’t mean much. If I start thanking them, it raises the value to a point where I am obligated to feel insulted and disappointed if people decide to unfollow. What, if they unfollow I’m supposed to seek them out and ask why?

      Scott, as businesses adopt Twitter, they will have to make a choice about this. It’s not fair to say it is a non-issue. It is an increasingly important issue, for even you and Ford. If it wasn’t important, you would have dropped your ADMs as soon as I mentioned it. Every business is going to have to make this decision. It would be interesting to know if Comcast’s customer service maven, @comcastcares (Frank Eliaison) auto DM’s. He didn’t when I followed him, but that was several months ago.

      Anyway, I sincerely appreciate your input on this. I’m sorry if you felt attacked. I was attacking the practice, not you. From what I hear from your fans, you are a stand-up guy. I like to believe that only a truly genuine person can consistently put out that image online.

      -Christine (purplecar)


      • scottmonty 13 December 2008, 6:52 pm

        Hi Christine,

        Okay, let me apologize if I offended you or came off as condescending. That as not my intent. As you say, it was a late-night post coming off of an extraordinarily difficult week. My goal was to debate, not to insult. And no, I didn’t feel like you were attacking me.

        Not sure I understand your reasoning that “if [the issue] wasn’t important, you would have dropped your ADMs.” Don’t you mean if it was important? That is, if it was something that made a difference (and a negative one in your view), I would have dropped them? Just want to be sure I understand.

        I wouldn’t compare my account to @comcastcares because Frank runs a corporate account. I don’t. I’m an individual associated with a company, not the other way around. And for the corporate accounts I have set up for Ford, I don’t send an auto response.

        I don’t see how thanking someone puts a value on the follow. To me. all followers are equally important, and it doesn’t equate to me having to provide any level of quality. It’s a common courtesy. If they don’t like what I’m saying, they can unfollow me.

        If a spammer follows me, so what? Let them follow me. I don’t care. When I do care is when they start sending me @’s or DMs that are spammy. And I have yet to run across one of those, btw.

        Ultimately, what matters to me is the exchanges I have with people (like yourself) on Twitter. I’m in it for real conversations, sharing of information, and a ceaseless flow of fascinating information on every imaginable topic. It’s really a wonderful thing.

        Thanks for being passionate enough about this to give it the thought and time you have. You’ve obviously made me stop and think about it, and ultimately your readers will be much more well informed on some of the nuances that they may not have otherwise considered.


        • PurpleCar 16 December 2008, 11:48 am

          Scott I have to say, your last response threw me for a loop. I didn’t realize that you weren’t tweeting officially for Ford. This kind of changes everything.

          If you were tweeting for Ford, I could almost excuse the ADM practice (which is very similar to “we’ve received your email” <— I hate those too, they're useless, but now are the standard). But since you aren't tracking your numbers, your followers, your @'s or DM's for any marketing purpose, I think your practice of auto DM's is just like anyone else's. And as you know, I don't hold the practice in high esteem.

          I've been thinking about this for days now. Ok, so you ADM on your personal account but you don't ADM on the Ford accounts, where, due to widespread cynicism surrounding communications with corporate giants, most people would EXPECT some sort of auto response. You are practicing in a way exactly opposite than what I would expect. It really has confused me for days, hence my late response! LOL! You are probably right, I spend too much time on this. 🙂

          I was saying that you are attached to your ADM. If you weren't attached emotionally (or however) to it, you would have just dropped them once you got a complaint. E.g., if I don't care if I have wheat toast or rye with my breakfast, then I'd definitely take the rye if the wheat was burnt.

          I hear ya about letting spammers follow you. But the whole SEO link counting bugs me. They consider their outward links in twitter to be inward links, and they count those as being legit. I have no desire to be included in their false representations of their 'popularity' on twitter or any other site. So I block them. It's a bug in the SEO system and until it gets weeded out, I'm not playing.

          I'm "in" social media for the same reasons as you, conversation, inspiration, information.

          This exchange has brought all of those things, so thanks man! Definitely fascinating topic, even though it is just the minutiae of start-up Web 2.0. 🙂

  • Scott Moroney 31 December 2008, 12:06 am

    Very interesting to follow the dialogue. It is proof positive that social media has a tremendous value and opportunity for marketing and just general sharing of information. Thanks for sharing the dialogue on this sensitive issue. I learned a bit about the technology and how passion is key.

    • PurpleCar 30 December 2008, 11:22 pm

      HI Scott! Thanks. WOW. You so far are the only one who seems to have read through all the tweets in the Auto Direct Messages conversation. I wanted to put them up there so people could see how Twitter can work. (It helps to have a lot of followers, though, if you want a conversation like that on Twitter. Scott Monty has over 5 grand followers and I have about 2 grand, and the passion for this conversation was high.)

      Chris Brogan just posted about ADMs here: http://www.chrisbrogan.com/social-media-is-no-place-for-robot-behavior/ He’s our resident guru and he’s not a fan of ADM’s either. I’d like to think he saw our conversation and my blog post first before he formed his blog post, but who am I kidding? 🙂 I think it is just proof that as more ADMs pop up, more recipients are becoming annoyed. The annoyance has reached critical levels now.

      I just coldly unfollowed someone today for an overt ADM. It just made my stomach turn. I usually say something polite about how I dislike the ADM, but I don’t unfollow all the time. I have just lost patience for them. This isn’t a good place to be, obviously, but pet peeves are old dogs that don’t learn new tricks.

      Maybe I should just put this in my bio: If you ADM me, I will unfollow you. Don’t bother to follow me if you are going to ADM me.

      I suppose I could make a new background with that in it. 🙂

      Thanks for commenting and continuing on the conversation. I agree, there is value in social media. This post is a good example to point out to people how conversation works. I should think about posting the direct message conversations I had too (after getting permission from the other party, of course!).


  • gochi 16 January 2009, 11:12 am

    Interesting post i am a member of twitter and i don’t know this thing, thanks purplecar for providing good information.

  • Stan Dubin 28 January 2009, 9:32 pm

    I found this post via Google. I was looking for a site that could help me set up auto-direct messages!

    I’ve had quite a few auto-DMs come my way and they didn’t particularly bother me. If the person is coming on too strong, s/he will come on too strong whether they use ADM or not. And several ADMs were very pleasant AND helpful in me finding out right away more about them. Yes, I could head over to their site for more insights, but time is not always there for this. So I’ll weigh in (for now) that ADMs done properly and tastefully are a good thing. Technology always has the good, bad and the ugly.

    • PurpleCar 29 January 2009, 9:43 am


      thanks. I hear what you are saying, but I think ADMs are as helpful and pleasant as junk mail. I hate junk mail, it wastes resources for very little returns. I’m happy to hear that you aren’t as annoyed as I am.



  • Social Media Marketing 29 January 2009, 1:14 pm

    Im new to this site also. Just checking out the blogs !

  • Sharon Odom 31 January 2009, 1:17 pm

    Hi Christine, I found this post via Google while looking for a way to turn off ADMs. I haven’t been tweeting for too long so I didn’t know you couldn’t block them. That’s too bad. I find them incredibly annoying and insincere, and it makes me want to unfollow that person immediately. I hope the TwitterVIPs will give us a way to turn them off. For now, I’ve setup a a filter in gmail so they all go to my Twitter folder along with all the follow/unfollow messages, to be reviewed if and when I get the time. Thanks!

    Sharon (@sharonodom)

    • PurpleCar 31 January 2009, 1:25 pm

      Hi Sharon!

      Thanks for coming! I followed you back on Twitter.

      Yes it seems like an AUTO BLOCK of ADMs would be appropriate. It’s definitely a needed feature. Twitter’s structure should be able to identify any message that is automatically sent, so it will take a bit more coding but I’m pretty sure they could offer an auto-block of ADM’s. Twitter is great! They have a lot of growing to do but they have made some huge improvements in the last 6 months. We’ll just have to wait and see.



  • LoveLinguist 4 February 2009, 5:06 pm

    I wanted to do a little research on the pros and cons of direct messages and auto-tweets… I wasn’t expecting this encyclopedia of knowledge with pertinent and relevant posts and people.

    I also have a professional title “The Love Linguist” which I have on twitter.com/lovelinguist but don’t really use (it is a trademark of mine). I use the name twitter.com/sherrierose since that is how people usually search. This is sort of a split personality and I see that @simonleung has two as well.

    Thanks for the informative post.

    Kindest regards,
    Sherrie Rose
    The Love Linguist

    • PurpleCar 4 February 2009, 5:53 pm

      Hi Sherrie! Thanks for coming!

      Well, lots of people are still using the auto DM’s. There will be more of those and spam @ replies before we know it. This will make Twitter unusable. I’d have to be able to block all ADMs and be able to filter or block spam in my @ timeline for Twitter to remain relevant. I have a hotmail account but check it very rarely because it is rendered useless with spam. Same thing will happen to Twitter.

      @ChrisBrogan has written about ADM’s too here: http://www.chrisbrogan.com/social-media-is-no-place-for-robot-behavior/

      Good luck with your decision.



  • ritchie 3 March 2009, 6:28 am

    It’s true that ADMs have become quite a drag during the last weeks. I use it to send out a short introductory video, trying to give my new followers and additional impression of my persona; the feedback about that was quite positive so far.

  • Bob Kellemen 9 March 2009, 6:50 pm

    What do you think of this non-DM that still felt like a DM? I actually received it while reading your blog about DMs! I left out identifying information because I don’t want to offend anyone. The person did have my name right!

    Hi Bob! This is NOT an auto response. Thanks for following. Let’s tweet! Check out ____ _____ if you want to. http://____.____

    • PurpleCar 9 March 2009, 8:32 pm

      Bob, Thanks for writing.

      Any immediate direct message with a link to the sender’s site is obnoxious, whether the direct message was typed manually or sent by a service. It basically screams: “I DON’T CARE ABOUT GETTING TO KNOW YOU. LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME LOOK AT ME!!!”

      Screw that.



  • Frank 19 March 2009, 11:10 am

    I found this post via google while looking for a method of auto direct messaging people on Twitter. I figured that maybe, some contact with me would be preferable to me not even noticing that they’d begun to follow me (I had to turn off the email notifications after my email inbox was flooded by over a hundred in a day.)

    It must be noted that I am a very new user to twitter and have still to catch up on the practices and, indeed, some of the workings of the system, but reading these messages has convinced me not to send out ADM’s. Come to think of it, I’ve never had much to say to them anyway, and I do not refollow people that I don’t actually know or find interesting.

    I think I will probably just stick something in my bio saying people can feel free to @c0deworks me if they wish, or just feel free to spam me with their SEO links which I will happily ignore.

    • PurpleCar 20 March 2009, 3:01 am

      Hi Frank! Thanks for taking the time to say something about the auto DMs. Chris Brogan has a post also about it: http://www.chrisbrogan.com/social-media-is-no-place-for-robot-behavior/

      I’m glad you are swaying toward the “against” side. ADMs will render Twitter useless. Twitter needs a find a way to allow users to block them pronto.



  • iquanyin 31 March 2009, 8:14 pm

    i hate adm’s too. agree with pretty much everything you said. weirdly, i get several–several–adm’s daily. i’ve been immediately blocking anyone who made me auto follow and then dm’d me. i even announced i’d be doing so on twitter, and expressed how annoyed i was over it. and then…arhhhhhhh. i discover my account is inexplicably tweeting “you can join the discussion ad ‘d iquanyin” (my twitter name). i’ve never used any auto anything in twitter. i follow for interest, don’t even really get that whole more-followers=imore-awesome thing. juvenile, as you say. i’m in this forum right now because i’m yet again searching for the source of these messages going out from my account. about 8-10 daily, to strangers, and they refer to nothing. no discussion! it’s not me! and i highly doubt my account’s been hacked. first, hardly anyone would figure out my pw, second none of my friends (can you believe it?) are on twitter, third it serves no purpose as i said. just a message to join a nonexistent discussion at an unnamed place.

    and today i learn it also sends this immediately after i decide to follow someone. to them. as a fkn DM. it’s embarrassing, even tho i’m not doing it. if anyone here has any clue, feel free to dm me on twitter (iquanyin). i now return to my (third) google search about this.

    • PurpleCar 1 April 2009, 9:20 am

      I contacted you via Twitter. Your problem is that Twitterchat.com is sending this auto direct message to all of your new followers:

      “Welcome! You can join the discussion by sending ‘d USERNAME msg’ .

      You can solve this issue by changing your twitter password. I have not explored the Twitterchat site to see what features they allow you to turn off, but this also may be an option. But a quick fix would be to change your password now.

      Most 3rd party apps for Twitter are safe and useful, but some can get annoying. Just keep an eye out and change your Twitter password often.

      You can see that other people have been annoyed with this Twitterchat feature here: http://is.gd/q5Es
      Good luck!



      • iquanyin 7 September 2009, 10:22 pm

        well, this is way late because i finally rememberd i could check disqus replies. you were right, pass change solved it.

  • arp 4 April 2009, 5:16 am

    ya i agree with u but if u r direct messaging someone not the same information as in the bio but may be according to their interest u will surely have some good impration

  • Sadie 30 June 2009, 12:19 pm

    Great article – I was just investigating ADM and how to go about them, having read this I think I’ll scrap the idea.

    Going to check that tweetdeck doesnt send ADM before I sign up now!
    Sadie (@glassraven)

  • Christine Cavalier 30 June 2009, 12:56 pm

    Sadie, thanks for finding this! i haven’t changed my feelings at all about the ADM. In fact, I feel like Twitter is on the downslide now, due to the fact that there is no option to block them. There is SO much spam on Twitter now that I’ve stopped following back people, and most new users quit the application after a few weeks. I’d say to stay away from auto direct messaging as much as possible, because now you’ll just be lumped in with the rest of the spammers. I just followed you on Twitter! Welcome to the world of “What are you doing?” 🙂 -PC

  • Al Williams 15 July 2009, 11:27 am

    I have to say that when people follow you they are essentially saying “Hey I have seen something you have written, was interested and would like to hear more from you”. Done tastefully the Auto DM works because as in the case with Scott Monty doesn’t have time to tailor a DM every time he is followed and can provide additional avenues for people to find out more about what you are saying. The key is IT MUST BE RELEVANT to what you are talking about. If you are talking about cooking, someone follows you and then you send them a DM asking them to buy a cooker, that is out of order. If it provides a link to your blog on cooking then that is fine in my opinion. After all it is what they are asking for by tapping into your conversation flow anyway.

    Nice debate Christine, but I feel you are being too harsh and I don’t think you are putting the issue into its full perspective.

    • Christine Cavalier 15 July 2009, 11:45 am

      Hey Al! Thanks for coming over to my blog and taking a peek.

      I think any DM with a self-promoting link is disgusting. Call me a purist. People can make the extra effort of going to my twitter homepage to see where I blog; I’m not going to force it on them.

      And you say a link with an ad to buy a cooker is out of order, but isn’t a link back to your blog an ad to “buy” your blog? It’s still advertising consumption, and you still look like you are selling a product = yourself. I tend toward the authentic, and I wouldn’t enter a room by announcing myself and handing out cards; I won’t do it online either.

      Just because the narcissism of social media is commonplace doesn’t mean we must partake in it.


  • LTBROWN 16 August 2009, 11:33 am

    I hate ADM’s. I do a ranting post every week but it doesn’t work. Twitter need a way to block you dm’s without blocking your timeline from that person.

  • PurpleCar 16 August 2009, 3:59 pm

    LTRBrown, that would be a great solution. -PC

  • Talkingbees Onlinehindibengali 12 April 2011, 11:07 am

    do you know about any software ,that automatically send DM to new followers?

  • Rbgerrick 1 June 2011, 7:46 pm

    When I first started on Twitter I had a DM. Programmed from tweetadder. I can not get it to stop. I have contacted everyone and nothing is working. Does anyone know how to make it stop. It is obviously a glitch. Now that I have discovered that DM is not good business I need to get it to stop. pls help

    • PurpleCar 2 June 2011, 12:13 pm


      You can stop Tweetadder from accessing your Twitter account, and that should stop the direct messages. It will also stop all the Tweetadder functions. In other words, Tweetadder will no longer work with your Twitter account at all once you revoke access.

      Log onto your Twitter account using a browser like Safari or Internet Explorer. User the pulldown menu under your avatar and username in the upper right corner. Go to Settings. Look for Applications. Click on Applications. Now look down the list for Tweetadder and press the revoke access button on the right on that line. In fact, revoke access to any other application that you don’t recognize. Applications slip in now and then and really, they don’t do anything for you. They are a security risk, also. You can always add them again later. I clean out my Applications on a regular basis.

      Following those steps should help you stop the auto direct messaging from Tweetadder. Good luck.

      -Christine Cavalier

  • John e Normal 3 August 2011, 4:51 am

    I love ADMs they are always so informative.

    In the future twitter will consist of nothing but automated conversations between spam bots.
    Our shopping bots will just go ahead and buy the stuff in the ADMs that match our keywords.
    Then it will be shipped directly to us, so we can consume without having to even read anything.

    • PurpleCar 3 August 2011, 9:28 am

      Yes, and then the only way we’ll know if someone hacked our accounts will be when the Super Double Pleasure Master Deluxe II is delivered by UPS.

  • Political Psychic 6 August 2011, 12:51 pm

    You were right to be suspicious. Corporate accounts have TONS of PR people who specialize in pretending to sound like normal, real people. Your suspicions were correct from the get-go.

    • PurpleCar 6 August 2011, 3:43 pm

      Thanks, Political Psychic!

      I still delete auto direct messages, even if people have verified with me, through whatever means. And I never click on the link in an auto DM. There is just way too much hacking and spam now to trust even your best friends’ direct messages. I’ve had two friends get hacked this week.
      I wrote this post years ago, but it is still popular. Things have changed a bit, and I think that companies are trying direct message barrages all the time, more and more often. It’s a huge problem for brands and Twitter. Most end-users, though, will accept them as a necessary evil, and we will all be forced to get used to the new normal (like ads on Facebook).
      -Christine Cavalier

  • Noah Murphy 2 January 2012, 5:36 pm

    I use ADMs so I don’t clog up mention feeds.

    • PurpleCar 2 January 2012, 6:56 pm

      What do you mean “clog up?”