The room is large. You’re amazed at just how many people have decided to attend this event. As you look around, you see that many people appear to be enjoying themselves, mixing freely with others. But yes, there are clearly some who appear lost in the crowd. That’s logical; the sheer number of people is a bit intimidating. After all, you are at this networking event with thousands, if not millions, of people from all over the world, and you want to make the most of it. You’ve just written a book. It was hard work, and you want to get the word out; the world is waiting.

Meeting_WorldYou decide to start from the front of the room and work your way back. Without hesitation, you walk up to a guy and say hello. When he freely returns the greeting, you say, “Yes! It’s finally here! The paperback edition of my new novel! I hope you will consider buying it. I would also appreciate it if you read and review it on Amazon.”

You don’t notice that he looks at you strangely, because you’ve already moved on to the next person. Once again, your hello is returned. And you say, “I’ve just written a book. Please visit my website and download my free short story.”

ShockedHe looks at you as if to say, “Are you effing kidding me?” but you’ve already moved on to the third person. She actually says hello to you first, so that must mean she’s really interested in your work. Despite the fact that she’s connected with 15,237 other people in the room, you are certain that your accomplishments are the only ones that will matter. You never even consider that she may have written a book (or several), recorded a CD (or several), or perhaps is a talented artist, teacher, speaker, entrepreneur, doctor, photographer, or animal welfare advocate. Why should you care about her? Hell! You’ve just written a book!

AutoCM_RevisedSidling up to her, you say, “Please like my Facebook page, read and review my new book, and don’t forget to pass this message on to all of your friends. Oh, and by the way, why not check out what I’m doing on Instagram?”

(breaks from sarcasm)

Okay, so the scene I’ve just described should sound a bit silly (a lot silly), because most of us (I hope!) would not be quite this bold, thoughtless, or narcissistic at a live networking event. However, this is the way a whole lot of people behave every single day by sending self-serving Auto DMs (direct messages) on Twitter. I’ve been on Twitter since 2009, and I have never, not once, shown any interest in a person because he/she sent me an Auto DM. Why would I be interested in the work of another person who thinks I exist only to support his/her work and appears oblivious to who I am and what I do.

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 1.18.49 AMDepending on my mood, I will ignore the DM or unfollow the person. Once in a while I’ve sent back sarcastic responses, but these days I try to resist that temptation.

I’ve discussed the Auto DM habit with many of my fellow authors, and I’ve yet to have someone tell me, “Yes, I love being spammed and having a stranger tell me what I can do for him.”

In closing, let’s go back to the live networking event. In most cases, people strike up conversations with one another, ask about the other person, and, if it fits, exchange information. When a respectful two-way connection is made, it may lead to a casual business relationship, a working business relationship, or perhaps a friendship.

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 1.27.42 AMSome of you who send Auto DMs may say, “But I do care about the other person!” And to that I say, “Perception is everything. If you behave like a narcissist, I’m going to see you that way.” Other people might tell me that Auto DMs do work with some people. I’m sure they do, but do you have any idea how many people you are turning off who might be interested in your work if approached respectfully? How many potential business relationships you are nipping in the bud? Do you truly want to be perceived as being all about yourself? Is it worth it?

Remember: Even though you’re sending an electronic message, this is the real world.

Screen Shot 2016-02-28 at 1.29.30 AMWhat are your experiences with Auto DMs?



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  1. Oh, Lisette, you have hit the proverbial nail on the head. I really detest those auto DMs. I don’t like it any better when they’re Tweets to me asking me to retweet their message. How do I know if it’s a real charity? Everyone is fundraising and everyone has a hand in everyone else’s pocket. I help many charities, just as I’ve mentored my writers but that doesn’t mean I enjoy being spammed.

    I’ve made some wonderful friends on social network, including Twitter and, perhaps, I’ve made some book sales, but I’m not there to ram my books down anyone’s throat.

    Thank you for saying what has needed to be said for a very long time.

    • Hi, Darlene:

      Thanks for so eloquently sharing your experience. Like you, I don’t RT because strangers ask me to do so. If I have a relationship with someone and that person asks a favor, if I can help, I’m happy to do so. But I hate being treated as if I exist merely to be used by others; I don’t know anyone who likes being treated like that.

      Like you, I have made fantastic friends on social media. I have sold books via tweets, too. But under no circumstances will I send Auto DMs telling people what they can do for me or tweeting directly at people.

      Thanks for stopping by!


  2. It’s amazing that people will do online that they would never even consider doing face-to-face. Whether it’s shameless narcissism or throwing out insults, the population of the internet could use some manners!

    Just imagine if people behaved on the street like they do on Facebook, shoving selfies in strangers’ faces or coming with perverse comments to some attractive woman you have never met before.

    To answer your question, I’m most likely to unfollow people who use Auto DMs. Even worse, if they tag me in a tweet promoting something that has absolutely nothing to do with me!

    • Hi, Michelle:

      Thank you so much for reading my blog and taking the time to share your thoughts.

      The point of writing this blog is exactly as you stated it: to illustrate how people will do outrageous things online that most wouldn’t consider doing in public. I know that some people who send Auto DMs think they’re okay because few people complain. That’s right: few do complain directly to the source. A great number of Auto DM recipients unfollow or report for spam.

      I also despise being tagged in tweets that do not concern me or being tweeted at. To me, DMs, tagging, and tweeting unsolicited information AT me is, in a word, spam.

      Thanks again, Michelle.

      All best wishes,

  3. I generally ignore DMs if I don’t know the person. The same as well with tweets from people I don’t know.

    My own practice on Twitter is to tweet my own work, tweet interesting writing advice and bits of philosophy, and tweet about the books of other authors that I’ve read and liked. And if someone retweets a tweet for one of my books, I respond in kind.

    My biggest concern is the huge time investment twitter can be. It can take away from writing time.

    The greatest advantage I see in Twitter is not book sales. I actually get only a few. The advantage is in meeting people and discovering their books and sometimes the services they have to offer. For example, I met 2 writers whose books I love and who also do cover art and I have used them for book covers and promo material.

    I think we forget that social media is social. Not a sell-a-thon.

    • Hi, CW:

      I’m with you. One of my biggest pet peeves is when people tweet spam @me. Most of us tweet out our books in moderation, but to tweet @ someone is an entirely different thing. As for the DMs, I wonder if those who send them to strangers don’t wonder how they would respond if every author on Twitter sent one them.

      Twitter can be a huge time suck, but when I think of all of the wonderful people (and close friends) who I have made over the years, it is hard to have regrets. That said, I am trying to limit my time there at bit more.

      I do try to tweet information that is useful to other people and I never want to forget the “social” in social media, as you mentioned.

      Sadly, some people think Twitter is just a free billboard to post one’s own work and nothing else. If someone follows me and every tweet is about the same thing, I won’t follow back.

      Thank you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts. Most interesting!

  4. Although this post is dated ‘Posted on February 28, 2016’ it probably still carries some truths. But personally I have noticed over the past year, with the many forms of social media available to market on a purely personal level, is futile.

    When it comes to Twitter I find the vast majority treat cold calling DM based on the information contained in it. Sending these DM’s is, to quote a previous post, “A real time suck”. But sometimes, in certain situations will supply incredible results.

    It helps to be a little thick skinned as there are many thought police still operating and are very fast in offering their unwanted opinions on what you should or should not do when it comes to what seems to be their own personal social media software…

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