Monday, August 24, 2009

Ban Automated Direct Messages!

Image representing Twitter as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBase

Any form of automated messaging has the potential to be spam. Most of it fulfills that potential extremely well.

For example. At the weekend I was followed by someone on twitter. I got my email alert (a lowest common denominator one from twitter, which the guys are working to make more bespoke through displaying follower counts etc... but still a way to go).

Anyway, the person looked like they were interested in the same things I was. Follower/followed count was pretty even - usually a good sign. The recent tweets looked human and interesting enough.

So I followed back.

And then they let themselves down.

With an automated direct message back to me.

It said something like: "Jeez, I'm just so busy with all these new followers at the moment I can only send you this (poxy - my addition) automated tweet. Sorry and that."

Hang on a minute mate. You followed me! If you're too bloody busy to have a conversation with me don't bother following me. Simple.

Maybe they are hoping that at some point in the future they will have time to have a conversation with me. I'm sure they will.

And that's really the point about lowest common denominator messages. The automated, one press-release-style-email-fits-all approach creates not contact, but resentment.

I said this in the previous post on this blog, but I think it's worth reiterating: When your purpose is to communicate with humans, don't massage the humanity out of your communications.

Automated Direct Messages have no place on twitter as far as I can see. If you get one, you have discovered someone who likely also wants to use you as a channel.

Lowest common denominator (one-size-fits-all) messaging = broadcast = spam = inappropriate for twitter - or any form of peer-to-peer activity.

I hereby urge twitter to make a stand on this - and ban automated DM messages.

Perhaps we could start with a #banautodm hashtag. Your suggestions very welcome

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