If you are an active user on Twitter, you may have noticed that several Twitter users with decent size followings have bulk unfollowed just about everyone and are selectively refollowing people. Each one has given different reasons as to why they are doing it but many have attributed the glut of auto DM's as being at least part of the reason. I don't know what the numbers are across Twitter but I've seen myself that somewhere between 1 in 3 to 1 in 5 new Twitter followers use auto DM's. If these numbers hold true for most high profile Twitter users - basically that means getting 20 to 35 or so DM's for every 100 new followers. If you are getting 100's or 1000's of new followers a day this can add up.
The thing is - auto DM's really don't need to be an issue for anyone. A couple weeks ago, I was really getting fed up with them myself. I have enough trouble dealing with tens of thousands of emails per day, nevermind getting 2-300 auto DM's on some days. I did some homework, did 2 simple things and now my DM inbox is virtually free of auto DM's. Yours can be too.
Here's what I did:
- Socialtoo allows you to automatically block any auto DM's being sent from their service. Just create an account and on your preferences page, you can choose to have auto DM's blocked. Bonus tip: I get really annoying with people who follow then will unfollow as soon as I've followed back. To save myself some grief, I use Socialtoo's autofollow feature, will filter new follow emails until I can manually check new followers and also use Socialtoo to block my account from automatically following those that will unfollow upon follow.
- Tweetlater is another service that sends out auto DM's. If you follow this link it will give you simple instructions on how to stop auto DM's from being sent to your Twitter account.
I get anywhere from 100 to 600 new followers a day. I used to sometimes get up to a couple hundred auto DM's in a day. Now I get maybe 10-20 unpersonalized DM's a day from new followers. I don't know about you, but I think that is a rather significant difference.
One of the nice things about Twitter is that it is up to each of us as individuals to decide how we want to use it. This goes to what we tweet, how often we tweet and of course, our our decisions as to who we wish to follow back. Some of us choose to follow everyone back that follows us, some of us choose to follow more selectively, some will follow based on our own needs rather than who is/isn't following us. I personally have a hard time buying the reason that someone has chosen to unfollow everyone based on DM's alone. You can deal with auto DM's as I've suggested above. You can choose to ignore DM's entirely & provide people with other ways of contacting you.
I've made some fantastic business and personal contacts through Twitter that I may not have otherwise. For the most part, the best contacts have been kicked off with DM's rather than simply tweeting public exchanges. Some of the better business contacts have been with people that don't tweet themselves and who follow others very selectively. It's really difficult for us to know in advance the true value of any individual and how they may enrich our lives in some way or how we may enrich the lives of others.
Update on 03/01/09 - Socialtoo has now removed the auto DM functionality from it's service entirely. Unfortunately I've now started to see auto DM's come in from elsewhere. Spammers are quick to find new methods.