Welcome to the seventh installment of Twitter Tuesday. In the spirit of Twitter, this blog will be short and sweet and to the point. The tips offered here are all based off my best-selling book We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media. If our goal is to build an author platform in the thousands to tens of thousands, then we will have to approach Twitter differently than a faceless corporation or even the regular person who does not possess a goal of becoming a brand. This blog will help you rule the Twitterverse without devolving into a spam bot.
This Week’s Fail Whale–Direct Message Spammer
Twitter offers us the direct message function for a number of reasons. We might need to share a phone number or e-mail address or even a street address we don’t desire the world to know. We can ask personal questions and favors or offer critique, advice or even correction. Often there is a sense of urgency attached to DMs.
The DM function is very useful, but the auto-DM (automatically generated direct message) to thank someone for following you is…spam. It’s like getting a “personal” message from Best Buy. We know it is automatically generated and, unlike Best Buy, automatically generated messages have the opposite effect. They distance us from the sender.
News flash. I will not have to call my therapist if every person I follow doesn’t send me a “special” thank-you. If it is auto-generated by a computer it isn’t special anyway, so all the sender is doing is causing needless distraction for the recipient.
Some of you reading this might be old enough to remember pagers. Whenever someone had a crisis, they would page with a 911. Of course, then you would always end up with that friend who paged 911 all the time. You would feel the buzz on your hip, see 911 and panic, thinking someone was hurt. Gunning the engine, you’d scream across five lanes of traffic leaving a path of pissed off drivers in your wake. You’d pull off the interstate into the ghetto to find the closest pay phone…just for the 911 friend to say, “Oh, I just needed you to call me back.”
…and then you wanted to kill them and make that 911 genuine. Eventually you would get to where you’d ignore their 911 pages. If they ever had a genuine emergency, they were buggered.
Auto-DMs are like the pager 911 in days of yore, when cell phone giants ruled the Earth.
I get notified when I have a DM. I will drop everything to go look, namely because it may be someone with a crisis or a need. The auto-DM is like crying wolf. For me, it is annoying.
If you want to thank someone for following, just talk to them. Thank them. Even auto-DMs with a question to engage like, “What do you write?” can spark discussion, but can also backfire. What if the person following isn’t a writer? Then the question is just bizarre. The best thing to do is just engage. Talk to people. We are secure enough to understand that we don’t have to chit-chat for an hour with every tweep we follow. Just talk. It’s fun :D.
Twitter Tip–Introduce a Newbie
If you have been on Twitter long enough to have a good amount of tweeps, then you are aware of who your social butterflies are. If a newbie follows and you see she has 10 peeps and is trying…strap her to a butterfly. Introduce her to one of you peeps who loves to chat and commands Twitter like it’s her own cocktail party. I regularly introduce new people to @PiperBayard because she is the friendliest person I have ever met, and I feel confident that Piper will make that newbie feel right at home on the Twitter Monkey Bars tut suite (immediately).
Tweet ya later!