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Auto-DM = Auto Dump; but why?

The End of an Era?

I am not sure what knuckle-head came up with the ability for Twitter users to automatially direct message those who follow them, but they really could have used their skillset elsewhere.  The entire premise of social media is personal interaction.  But what I don’t want to do is preview and follow someone, only to get junk mail in return.  

I lament the days of old (you know 12-18 months ago) when I first got involved in Twitter and had a great core of folks who were also finding their way through this venue.  Now everyone seems to be solely engaging the system, with the desire to skip right past the relationship building and mutual sharing, and go right to “hey come buy my project”.  That “come buy my project” is the first interaction we get, right after “will you follow me?”  My new answer is NO.  If you send me an automatic message, than that’s a great sign that you don’t get it and your intent is not to share with peers.  

I’m starting to wonder if the system is becoming tainted and exactly how long it will be before I just revert to Facebook to share…


There have been countless posts done about the power of networking and Twitters ability to build connections.  When I said that I lament those connections, I meant it.  Twitter was a lot of fun with 40 core followers.  I still feel like I have a good connection with them and it has transcended to IRL meetups and national friendships.  None of these meetings or friendships would I trade for anything.  

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I was goofing around on Twitter Mosaic recently and noticed that some of my earlier followers are no longer really engaging Twitter.  I wonder why, but remember that lots of people start things and don’t stick with them.  However, the real revelation is how many of these folks I’ve met with and have helped or been helped by.  Lots of these early connections are still engaging and being engaged.  

Converstaion generates conversation.  I’ve noticed that coming in and promoting a post I dugg up somewhere is ok, but to actually check in on people, joke around and share is where the real power of this venue lies.

New Twitter Wishlist?

I wish that Twitter would help those of us out, who really want a more pure interaction.  It’d be great if the e-mail sent notifying us of new followers had their bio’s in the e-mail, along with last post and the follower, following ratio.  Not that it’s a parameter I would alienate anyone over, but it’d be nice to know when the person join.  

I’ve never been involved just to gain followers, so I have no issue with unfollowing and blocking folks.  I’ve recently decided, after hearing others who are doing it, to unfollow those who send me an auto DM. Of course I have some other parameters, but this is my newest one.

I’ve also added a line to my Twitter bio, letting followers know that I will unfollow after auto-DMs.

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Written By

Matthew Rathbun is a Virginia Licensed Broker and Director of Professional Development for Coldwell Banker Elite, in Fredericksburg Virginia. He has opened and managed real estate firms, as well as coached and mentored agents and Brokers. As a Residential REALTOR®, Matthew was a high volume agent and past REALTOR® Rookie of the Year & Virginia Association Instructor of the Year. You can follow him on Twitter as "MattRathbun" and on Facebook. Matthew's blog is



  1. Clint Miller

    February 20, 2009 at 8:32 am

    I cant stand auto-DMs. I unfollowed someone just this week for sending me an auto DM asking me to download their “free gift” for following them. The gift??? A lead generation toolkit!! That is irony right there. 😉

  2. Paula

    February 20, 2009 at 8:47 am

    Right before you published this, I was reading you can block auto DM’s through Social Too. I read it in Twitter – seems many folks don’t like the auto DM.

  3. Matt Stigliano

    February 20, 2009 at 8:48 am

    Matthew – I had an auto-DM recently telling me to introduce myself – I had been speaking to this person directly just that afternoon on Twitter. It didn’t make sense at all. I don’t always remember to give people “thanks for the follow” messages and sometimes I don’t because I want to see if they’re worth following for awhile or not, but when I do, they are typed in letter by letter.

    Clint – That is pretty ironic. You should have taken him up on the offer. A little comparison sales for you to give you something to show why you’re better than the others.

  4. Vance Shutes

    February 20, 2009 at 6:42 pm


    I’m with you, all the way. Those auto-DM systems are a major turn-off, though I haven’t (yet) unfollowed someone because of them. It really all comes down to the value and significance of their tweetstream. It’s fun to DM back to a new followed person with a snide comment to shut off their auto-DM. THAT has brought some interesting replies, to be sure!

  5. Michelle DeRepentigny

    February 20, 2009 at 8:58 pm

    I got an auto DM asking me to introduce myself also from someone I was following because I was intrigued by a blog post he had put up. Well he wasn’t following me and so I could not DM him back, even though he intruded on what I consider my personal space – my cell phone 🙂

    I was annoyed enough that I un-followed him.

  6. Will

    February 20, 2009 at 11:31 pm

    At the same time, the auto DM can be an effective tool if used correctly. Have you followed @nik_nik of That’s an auto-DM I don’t mind receiving (no spoiler alerts here).

  7. Missy Caulk

    February 21, 2009 at 8:50 am

    Twitter has changed. Or maybe I followed too many people. But, not sure what to do except unfollow.

    Oh well, I’m sure someone will come up with a plan like you described.

    Actually that is how I track who is following me, I look at the latest DM and then decide if I want to follow back.

    Also set up a rule in Mail to keep the requests from interupting my day.

  8. Carolyn G-Tu

    February 22, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    I agree – auto dm is auto-dumb in my opinion.

    I wonder if as people who have used twitter for a longer time have less patience with new users – I have a hard time with the concept of following hundreds of people – just now hit 100 that I’m following although there are close to 600 following me. I know I’m missing out on interacting with some really interesting people – I’m trying to branch out a bit more.

  9. Linda Davis

    February 22, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    I miss the good old days of Twitter. Some days I don’t even recognize the people on my screen. My own fault for following too many but the Italian Catholic in me made me follow back when asked. Otherwise I’d feel guilty. I did get to meet you through Twitter and for that I’m grateful.

  10. Linsey

    March 15, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    I’m one of those that has become less active on Twitter. Too much noise. I’ve followed too many and frankly, it’s lost some of the appeal because of that. I know I could do a bit better with Tweetdeck. It’s on the To Do list.

    As for auto DM’s – I just don’t see the point and it’s usually an immediate turn off for me.

  11. Rocky VanBrimmer

    June 23, 2009 at 7:18 am

    The Auto DM’s are getting lame. I was just remembering the other day how we use to pick on @Gotbob!

    Good point as always Matt.

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