It's no secret. I spend a hell of a lot of time on Twitter.
It's fun. It's random. And I love being able to connect with writers and moms just by pulling my blackberry out of my bra and sending a tweet.
But ya know what I don't love?
Auto DMs (or automatic direct messages, for the uninitiated).
Here's my take on the situation: If you send them, you look like an A-hole. A fake, smiling, chipper telemarketer hoping that the person you just called won't hang up before you finish your pitch. I don't care how famous you are or how many followers you have or how impossible it is to keep up with all the tweets coming your way. Be real or sit down and shut up. I know when I'm being patronized. And you know what happens when I get "Thanks for following me! Please check out my INSERT URL HERE and I can't wait to get to know you!" in my direct message inbox?
An automatic unfollow.
Same goes for the crazy Facebook games some of Those People with Time to Spare that end up with your results in my direct message inbox. Because really? I don't need to take a quiz to figure out which real crazy writer I am like. I can save a lot of headache by just looking in the fucking mirror.
I don't care if you have 2 followers or 2 million. I don't care if I followed you because I thought you were interesting until the DM showed up in my inbox. Sometimes it hurts to cut the chord. But if you're too busy to sincerely acknowledge or ignore me, I doubt you're going to notice you're down a follower.
Here's the thing, people. I know that some perfectly wonderful and nice bloggers/tweeps use auto DMs. I've grimaced every time I've gotten one...and admit that I have had to swallow my own words and ignore my own policy every now and then, especially if a relationship had already developed outside of/or prior to Twitter. I want to tell these people that for a brief moment, I stopped thinking they are wonderful and nice and instead thought they were about as real and sincere as The Popular Kid in elementary school who was forced to invite all the kids in his/her class to their birthday parties. Smile big and pretty for the camera...but let's forget we this ever happened after the flash dies away, okay?
Am I being melodramatic? Probably.
I know that most people who set up auto-dm's probably think it's a nice way to welcome their new followers instead of making them wait for acknowledgment. But after my recent informal twitter poll, I confirmed that I'm not the only one with a bug up my bum about this whole thing.
What started this whole drama? A real direct message. One that thanked me for a follow that was very obviously written by the person who sent it and was very obviously intended for me. I was in shock.
So I tweeted this:
wow, i just got a realm sincere, thanks for the follow DM. take note people, i'd rather be sincerely ignored than falsely welcomed.
And the "Sing it, sister!" responses started coming in, so I started a very unscientific and unofficial Twitter Poll.
Responses to my "Love auto DMs or Hate 'em" tweet included the words "annoying," "hate," insincere," unfollow," and "why?"
Not one person jumped up and admitted to using them. Not one person called me out for calling them out.A few people did say that they are only mildly annoyed by them. Some just ignore the auto-dm's and others have even found magical and mystifying ways to block them completely. I'm not that talented, nor do I believe I need to go out of my way to avoid your social media fuax-paux, so I'll just bitch about them here because I can.
But ya know what? Not one person jumped up and said that they loved receiving auto dm's or that they make the receiver feel like they just got hugged by a rainbow.
Or a unicorn.
So here's my plan to take over Twitter and make it safe to play in the sandbox again: I think that those of us on Team Pauline should join together and form Tweeps Against Auto Direct Messages (TAADM.) I'll be president. Karen Quah can be vice-president.
I even have a slogan, which Karen already approved after too many martinis.
Friends don't let friends auto-dm. Respond or ignore sincerely. It could save a follow.
Our first meeting will take place in the community center, room 4A, right after the Twitter Anonymous (TA) meeting lets out. Don't forget the punch and cookies this time.