No no, this isn't about the age-old (ok, months-old) battle between good Twitter users and those awful people who send auto-direct messages (DMs) when you follow them. This is about good, social media-fearin' people abusing the DM service to begin with.
I try pretty hard not to rant on this blog, yet my dear readers know I often fail miserably. This is one such time of failure. Now that I've momentarily hung my head in shame, I can move on.
Twitter is supposed to be about two-way communication, whether it between people, brands, brands and their customers, customers and their grandchildren, brands and their uncles... wait. You get the picture. It is not supposed to be a blatant promotional vehicle where people abuse trusted relationships to promote their stuff. If other people promote your Webinars / blog posts / causes / pictures of said grandchildren for you it's because they want to.
Over the course of the last week I have received more than 25 DMs from people I've chosen to follow (or established some mutual trust) that commit one of the following sins:
- "OMG please retweet this so I can get more blog hits!"*
- "OMG please retweet this so I can get more followers!"*
- "OMG please retweet this so I can sell more stuff!"*
- "Dear ma'am, read about something-uninteresting at RedirectedURL"*
Now, it's fine to DM me with something that you think I'm truly interested in and you think I might've missed (i.e. my good friends sending me NHL trade updates today), that's fine. But if you beg me to retweet something and also say it's for some self-serving benefit, I won't do it.
I do retweet A LOT. If I find something funny or interesting or informative I like to pass it on to my network. I don't believe in a "retweet science" or that you should minimize your tweets to "up" your chances of getting retweeted. How inauthentic is that? I believe in people helping other people because they want to, not because they are guilted into it.
Have I ever asked a friend to retweet something? Sure. The SXSW Wiki, for instance, but only because it helps the community. Never for page views. Never for gain. And never, ever inauthentically to someone I barely ever speak with, let alone communicate with on Twitter.
I understand that Twitter is getting more popular and the more popular things get the more bastardized they can become (Hi MySpace, how ya doin'?). But can we treat each other with a little more Twitter respect? Act like my friend. If you treat me like someone who can only do something for you, chances are I won't be following you much longer.
*OMGs and ma'am added for dramatic effect