Twitter dashboard

Should you ever send Direct Messages on Twitter…?

Recently I received a direct message on Twitter from someone asking if I wanted to embark on a writing course with them and learn how to write… and having asked the person if they had bothered to read my profile to see I’ve earned my living as a professional writer for over 30 years – it made me think about whether or not it is ever a good idea to send any Direct Messages on Twitter. Twitter dashboard

And I have to say that apart from a few exceptions – which I will outline below – I believe that Twitter is not the place to send direct messages ever.

Firstly though here is why not to send them. Twitter is a public site – the whole point of it is that you are initiating a conversation with your followers, not using it as some sort of hideous way of sending lots of unwanted sales spam. There are other reasons too why I ignore direct messages on Twitter. The main one is that more often than not a direct message with any link is actually a bug that you will click on and infect your Twitter feed with.

Secondly there is something rather sad and needy about messages that say,’thanks for the follow’ ‘please like me on Facebook’ or ‘like me and I’ll like you’.

Worse are these real ones: ‘your great …Facebook link inserted … as love connecting with great people like you’ complete with spelling mistake (your should be you’re for those of you who can’t tell the difference), ‘Thanks for connecting. Here is a free video for you to watch where I share my boring as hell wealth creation strategies’ (ok, I put in the boring as hell bit but you get the idea) and ‘Buy my book’/’have you read my new novel’ or ‘sorry to dm but we need your help’…

It’s all a shame these direct messages are sent when you have followed someone. After all, you followed that person because they seemed genuine and interesting and then you get a direct message like that and you begin to wonder…

But more disastrous are those individuals on Twitter who send out general scattering messages as in the person who wrote to me asking if I want to learn to be a writer. This was sent from someone I have never heard of – ok, admittedly I must have followed them at some point and they did look promising. But I felt pretty angry that they hadn’t looked at my profile and had sent an impersonal message – and that clearly their only reason for following me (or anyone) was to flog one of their writing courses, if indeed they are actually a writer. When I examined their website closer I found a blog but no evidence that they are paid to write and they earn their living from writing or ever have done.

The only exception when I feel a direct message is in order is if you have been having a public chat with someone on Twitter and it gets to the point where you want to continue that conversation in private. For example, someone might tweet to me that they have a story. I will then suggest – obviously – they direct message me a contact number so we can discuss it in confidence.

Otherwise there’s a reason why some profiles have ‘do not direct message me’ on their profile. They are jolly annoying so please don’t do it.

Do you agree? What are your views on Direct Messages on Twitter? Let us know below…

Alison Smith-Squire

Alison Smith-Squire is a writer, journalist and media agent selling exclusive real life stories to newspapers, magazines and TV. She owns the sell my story website, which was set up to help ordinary people sell their stories to the press.

One thought to “Should you ever send Direct Messages on Twitter…?”

  1. I don’t necessarily agree. I’ve found it a useful tool to engage with journalists who might not respond to an email that, more often than not, ends up in a junk or spam folder. Mind you, I do agree that there’s no point in asking someone if you can DM them and then send them a completely irrelevant message as happened in your case. The only people I DM are those that I actually know and want to have a quick, private chat with or a journalist with whom I want to pitch what I consider to be a story that could interest them. The automatic responses that come via TweetAdder or any of the other services that shoot out the same DMs to new followers can be perceived as a bit of a nuisance but I must admit to using them to promote what I’m working on as a time-saving tool.

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