Learn Why The Death Of Auto-DMs Is Greatly Exaggerated

A lot has been said lately about automated Twitter direct messages that are sent through third-party applications, such as TweetLater. One of our competitors went as far as publicly taking a stand and removing the sending of DMs from their service offering.

TweetLater will continue to offer its users the ability to send DMs to their followers and here is why.

Are Auto DMs Spam?

Whether it is an email or a DM, it is not spam when you have explicitly opted-in to receive that type of communication from the sender.

“I hear you, but I did not opt-in to receive auto-DMs from TweetLater,” you say.

Mmm… let’s pause for a second and consider the facts.

Fact #1:

By virtue of the way Twitter works, you explicitly grant a person permission to send you DMs when you follow someone. So, it is clear that by following someone, you opt-in to receive DMs from that person.

There is no qualifier where you can specify that you want to receive only a certain kind, type, or class of DM.

Hence, any DM you receive from someone you follow is not spam, because you have specifically authorized that person to send you DMs.

Fact #2:

TweetLater never ever just traverses the Twitterverse and willy-nilly sends DMs to anybody it can find. That’s just simply something we do not do and will never do.

TweetLater only acts on very specific instructions from its users.

A user would come to our website and instruct TweetLater as follows: “Send this text as a DM to everyone who follows me from this point forward.”

In other words, it should be very clear that TweetLater sends the DMs on behalf of real human beings, who have explicitly instructed the system to act on their behalf.

And you are following that same person. Hence, that is why you are receiving the DM. It’s as if the person herself had sent the DMs to all new followers from the Twitter web interface, except that the person chose to use TweetLater to automate that particular task.

It is no different from Aweber sending autoresponder emails on behalf of its users to people who have explicitly opted-in to receive emails from the respective list owners.

Why Do People Send Auto DMs?

Use #1

First and foremost, it’s a matter of convenience and of saving time to spend on other things.

Many people want to send DMs to their new followers as a show of appreciation that the person decided to follow them.

From Day One that TweetLater started offering the welcome message service, here is how we advised members, right below the checkbox where the welcome message is enabled:

Best Practise: The message should not be about you, it should be about your follower and your future interaction with your follower.

Write a very simple welcome message. If you really want folks to unfollow you, then try and sell them something with this first welcome message. Very few people like that. Be careful even if you’re giving away something for free. The purpose of this message is to say hello and welcome. Most people take a dim view of you when you do any kind of self-promotion with this message. If your message smells remotely like, “Hi, thanks for the follow, now buy my stuff or do something that will benefit me or check out how cool I am,” then you really are misusing this welcome message. Don’t send what you wouldn’t like to receive from others.

Some members follow the advice, some don’t.

We have zero sympathy for any member who sends out a blatant self-promotional welcome message and loses followers as a result.

Use #2

More and more businesses and other organizations are starting to use Twitter, and to them the auto-DM is a very efficient way to communicate with people who have an interest in what they do.

TweetLater proudly serves a number of Twitter users that have 50,000+ followers, and those users are making very effective use of the auto-DMs.

Why Are You Receiving So Many Auto DMs?

You are receiving many auto DMs for one reason only: Because you are following many new people every day.

Now, we understand that it can become tedious and frustrating when you receive scores of “Hello, look at my site,” or “Hi, how are you, now please buy my shit,” auto DMs. You need to ask yourself whether you really want to follow people who have that kind of attitude.

There also are people who use automated scripts or services to find and follow people. Others participate in some of the follower-building pyramid schemes that are floating around from time to time.

These services and schemes help you do one thing: Follow more people with the hope that more will follow you back and consequently boost the number of people who follow you. If that’s your game, then we have very little sympathy for you if you receive many auto DMs. You’re walking right past the most powerful benefit of Twitter without even knowing it.

The real power of Twitter lies not in who and how many follow you, but in what you can learn from and how you can connect with the people you follow. Begin to understand that, and you’ll see how silly it is to play a “get more followers” numbers game.

It is with this in mind that we built our TweetCockpit product, which is part of TweetLater Professional. It’s extremely powerful in helping you discover new things, and learn from and connect with others.

If You Don’t Like Them, What Can You Do About Auto DMs?

We understand if you don’t like receiving auto DMs.

Just as our users have a right to automate some of their repetitive tasks, so you have a right to decide that you do not want to receive any auto DMs that TweetLater sends on behalf of its users.

Hence, we have created for you an extremely easy way to tell us to stop sending you any DMs that our users, who you chose to follow, have automated with us. All you need is your Twitter account. You don’t need to register an account with TweetLater to opt-out of auto DMs.

We provide this opt-out mechanism out of respect for your right to choose. We don’t see it as means to artificially inflate the number of TweetLater users.

Anybody in the Twitterverse can opt-out.

Some folks do opt-out, but the funny thing is, we frequently get Help Desk tickets from people who want us to remove them from the opt-out list.


Folks, whether you like auto DMs or not, they are going to be around. There is nothing evil about a DM that is sent by automated means on behalf of and on the explicit instruction of a Twitter user.

Can they be misused? Absolutely. Simply unfollow those who misuse them. They will very quickly get the message.

Can they be used very effectively? Absolutely!

Written by:

Dewald Pretorius

5 thoughts on “Learn Why The Death Of Auto-DMs Is Greatly Exaggerated

  1. ECS Dave

    I don't know about “bizarre and sad”, but it is something that needed to be explained to those who do NOT “get” what Twitter, and automation (when and where necessary) can do. I found the explanation well written, and obviously, well thought out as well. Be Well!ECS Dave

  2. CharlieProfit

    This was an excellent explanation of Twitter and use of Auto-DMs. I wonder if people want to opt out of receiving them, but still want to send them! Now wouldn't that be the most ridiculous thing (as if opting out of DMs wasn't already ridiculous)?

  3. DeAnna

    Very good explanation. I'm glad you posted this. I'm bookmarking this so I can post this whenever people are ranting about auto-DMs.

  4. Judith

    Thanks for the post! Very clear on what to me is a bit of a no brainer anyway!!! Why get yourself in a tizz about something so simple! Let's face it there are people using the DM discussion as a bit of a war cry to get attention!Shame! Thank You!!

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