Idea Girl Media asks the difference between a welcome email and a welcome automated tweetAre you on Twitter?

Do you have more than 20 followers?

Is your mobile phone on over-drive juggling messages from your home email, your work email, Facebook, and maybe more?

Me too.

You are not alone!

If you’re life is anything like mine, you have some responsibilities like a family, children in school, their activities, household chores, community activities, and even a job — or two.

You’re looking to make things as simple as they can be because most of the time, you’re on overdrive.

Am I right?

Social Media Bandwagon

You might have jumped into social media to enhance your communication and maybe even make a difference for that second job, your side business, or a nonprofit you’ve been so kind to champion.  Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

Keeping up with the times – if you’re 35 or older, you’re feelin’ groovy! 🙂

Then you experience the overload of email notifications about Facebook Pages & Events invites, conversation threads, and new followers.

YIKES – Time to change the settings! So you do.  And still, your email Inbox is NOT a lonely place.

Are ya with me?

Best Intentions

I bet you really want to respond to each conversation and notification, but you’re one person.  So you prioritize what you can do….reasonably.  (At least that’s my thinking).

One of your Twitter friends might have suggested a groovy tool to help you save time.  You’re all ears…so you explore…

There are several social media management tools out there – each performing a different set of functions.  It is possible to arrange scheduling of tweets and posts, auto-follow, direct messages, and more.

The Great Debate

In every social media course that I have taken there has been conflicting information.

One expert will tell you that there are tools out there to help you mange your social media and be more efficient.  Another will tell you to use the tools, but it is the most horrible thing to set up an automated direct message to your followers.


We’ve all gotten a thank you via email when subscribing to a free newsletter – That’s an auto-responder.  A thanks for signing up.

I ask you: What’s the difference between that and an automated message to your new followers on Twitter?

Clarifying the Ruckus

I can understand why some would recommend not automating a message on Twitter.

Most are spammy in nature and include links to “click their junk.”  I wrote an article, “10 Reasons Why I Won’t Follow You On Twitter,” with that being one of the reasons.  Yet there are thousands of people taking advantage of that DM opportunity to zing a sleazy link to anyone that might look.  I understand the wish to avoid that.

On the other hand, what if you want to acknowledge someone and encourage a relationship?  For some, by the time they got around to the email notification, on a follow, the deadlines on Twitter Etiquette would have passed.

So what to do?

A Confession

My view is that social media is all about nurturing and developing relationships.   So I prefer to follow back when someone follows me so that we might engage in real conversation at some point.

Also, I’m an active tweeter – my Twitter following is into the thousands now, and is growing.

I genuinely want people to feel that I care about them, and hope that they will engage with me.  And I approach with the policy to treat others as I wish to be treated.

To me, it is valuable for people to feel acknowledged — I’d want to be!

So I do it…

I automate a message to new followers to express my thanks for their interest and to let them know of my excitement to communicate with them.

There, I said it.

But I won’t hang my head, because I’m a bit of a snob about it too…

  • It is a sincere thank you.
  • My greeting invites looking forward.
  • I do not include a link – ever.
  • And I watch with intent to converse.

To me, it’s more important to make that initial expression of appreciation than to risk the possibility I might not get to it in a reasonable timeframe.

The Heated Questions

To the person that DM’d me to say that I should stop the auto-DM because it makes people not want to follow back, I want to know why you did not have the courage to discuss this past that DM.  For I was openly willing and sent a message in response.

To everyone else, I ask again: What’s the difference between an automated “welcome” DM and an automated “welcome email?”

Auto-DM or No auto-DM — That is my question.

What’s your position??

Please put your thoughts in the comment box below – whatever they are.  🙂