Saturday, March 21, 2009

Twitter Rules: What's Wrong With: #AutoDM, #AutoTWEET, #TweetLater - Everything Is Wrong With Them!

Do you leave an out-of-office reply on your email account when you are gone for more than a few days? And what about when you are in the office? Do you leave your auto-reply emails turned on?

Okay so how do you feel when you call the bank on the phone and they say, "Your call is important to us." Do you believe them? Do you believe them AFTER you've had to call back to the voice-navigation system three times because you keep getting routed down the rabbit hole?

How about direct mail? Do those credit card apps offering you some "guilt free" money make you feel any more confident in the economy? Do they make you feel like the banks are finally ready to start bringing the economy back on line? Do you feel like they are trying to make contact with you, or sell you? Or even worse, scam you?

So here's the connection: On twitter when you decide for whatever reason (cool picture, cool name, random click, recommended by a friend) to follow someone, it is a pretty simple and trivial event. "Click." Okay, so far so good. In some people's Twitter etiquette the next thing you get is a DM from the new "friend" with some happy words of greeting. Or worse, a sales pitch for how you can increase your twitter audience by a 1,000 followers a day. WTH?

Is there any good case for Auto-DMing followers? Is there any good reason to leave your auto-responder ON when you are in the offie. Well, perhaps if you are trying to fake a friendly "Howdy, friend, let's have lots of great chats now that we're friend." I find it more likely that you are faking that intimate connection that comes from an actual response and re-follow.

Imagine these two responses I got after following someone who looked interesting.

Response 1: "@jmacofearth if you like that, you might enjoy also in absentia (blackest eyes) and fear of a black planet (way out of herefear of...)" fr: Tapatia

Response 2: "Thanks for the follow. I hope we get to tweet a lot and rule the world." fr: name redacted.

So I asked Mr. 50k what the heck he was doing training businesses to do this Auto-Bot responder. I guess to him it was like an answering machine. But I think he missed the point and of course now he's blocked me from harassing him any more. When confronted, Mr. 50k responded that he auto-followed and auto-DM'd so he could invite the new "friends" to connect with him on Facebook or his website. Oh boy!

But wait a minute. What are you doing when you ping me back with a sales pitch? A sales pitch of any kind? Like, "Hey, John McElhenney, thanks for the follow. Be sure and check out my Facebook page HERE and get a copy of my free ebook "Winning Twitter and Influencing Tweeps," HERE." So Mr. 50k says it's only because he wants to be able to DM you and for you to be able to DM him. And I asked him, "So what if you took the 30 seconds to look at the persons page and made a determination if you were interested in having a conversation with them?" "When you get 1,000 followers a day come talk to me about that 30 seconds." So Mr. 50k was at about 32k followers when we had this exchange. Let's check in on him and see how he's doing in his mega-twitt quest.

mr 50k as himself

Yep, he's gained 16,000+ new followers so far in the 21 days of March, so he's well on track for becoming a regular Guy Kawasaki or perhaps even an Obama. But wait, let's see what Mr. 50k has to say in those, perhaps he has an important message. Uh, nope.

There is this awesome blurb in his bio, "He believes that education is important, but not essential to becoming a successful entrepreneur." Okay, but don't quit your dayjob. The good news is that Mr. 50k is using his new found popularity and has launched "a social media marketing company, which specializes in training large companies how to engage their customers by using social media." I'm not sure he knows what the meaning of the word "contrived" is, but so be it. (adjective, obviously planned or forced; artificial; strained: a contrived story)

So maybe he can help you. Maybe I'm getting all riled up about nothing. But if I left my out-of-office email reply on (also called an auto-responder) with a pithy welcome statement, my guess is you would feel less welcome and more like a customer.

Main advice. Don't join the Borg, don't be an Auto-Bot. Be REAL and in REAL TIME.

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