Why are you still sending automated direct messages in Twitter? No. Seriously. I want an answer. I just don’t understand how this late in the game, with so many people who publicly admonish those who do it, that companies and people are still sending generic, automatically generated direct messages. To quote one of my favourite comedians, Chris Porter, “are you shitting me?”
Let’s start by talking a little about what sort of a message an automated direct message sends to people. Has anyone ever received an automated DM and thought “no there’s a company that cares about me as a person”? No. No one. Ever. An automated direct message says to me, “hey, we don’t pay much attention to this account or to our followers so we decided that the best way to put the social in social media was to create a generic message and fire it off into the ether whenever anyone gets suckered into following us.”
I would rather a company put a burning bag of dogshit on my front porch than send me an automated DM to thank me for following them. I’m serious. The former shows some effort, a certain degree of interest and a spark of creativity. The latter shows that you know, in the most rudimentary sense, how to operate a computer. That’s it. It’s a lot like when you wish your friend a happy birthday. Everyone knows that the only reason you remembered to wish them a happy birthday is because your iPhone told you so.
That’s what we’re working with. We live in a time where almost everything on the planet is automated. We use self-serve checkouts, we do half of our shopping online and anytime we ask someone a question, they tell us to Google it. We’re connected 24/7, 365 but we spend so much of that time trying to keep our distance from one another. The one place where I expect people to ACTUALLY try to connect with people is social media, and yet here they are, sending me automated DM’s.
I unfollow about 75% of the accounts that send me an automated DM. Immediately. But there’s a special place in hell reserved for people and companies that send me an automated DM telling me to check out their Facebook page. Are you shitting me? First off, I’m not on Facebook. I don’t like Facebook. I don’t personally use Facebook. Also, I’m easily excited. When I see a DM I get genuinely excited. I think, “Oh, cool. Someone has taken the time to reach out and send me a personal, private message, just for me.” When that message is an automated CTA asking me to check out their Facebook page, I want t punch their avatar in the face.
What I truly don’t understand is how far removed from the ground people have to have their ears in order to NOT know that this is unacceptable. I’m assuming that a lot of these businesses have social media managers, whose job it is to manage these accounts. And yet, here we are in 2015 with automated DM’s asking me to follow your Facebook page.
Are you shitting me?