No to Auto DMs

davefleet - see @ message -> follow -> receive auto DM -> unfollow

Over the last couple of weeks I’ve seen more and more discussion about “auto DMs” on Twitter.

“Auto DMs” are direct (private) messages automatically sent when someone follows an account. Some people have chosen to use these to thank people for following; others have taken it a step further by using auto DMs to encourage others to visit their other web properties.

Today, a client asked me if I could help them set up auto DMs for their their new Twitter followers. I strongly advised them against doing it.


Automatically-generated direct messages seem to be negatively received pretty much universally.

This isn’t about you, it’s about the people that follow you… and they don’t like it.

Richard Binhammer's campaign against auto DMsDell’s Richard Binhammer has gone on a public crusade against these messages. Every time he receives one, he publicly “outs” the person sending it.

I agree with the people opposed to these auto-DMs. Here’s why:

  • They’re impersonal
  • They’re untargeted
  • They’re often about promoting the sender, and are simply too much, too soon in the relationship
  • They’re the closest thing Twitter has to spam

For a sense of the general sentiment towards auto DMs, check out a quick Google Blog Search on the term.

What do you think? Are people over-reacting? Do you like or hate auto DMs? Do you care?

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Dave Fleet
EVP Digital at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.