are you seeing a lot of junk in your twitter direct message folder? a new twitter setting may be at fault. here’s how to fight back.
“dear resident” comes to twitter
in april 2015, twitter announced it was opening the direct message gates, allowing twitter user to send a direct message to any other user. previously (most of the time, at least), users could only DM fellow twitterers who were following them. the headline of wired’s coverage of the announcement was typical of the reaction in the media and on twitter.
twitter offered a possible use case:
Communicating with people you may or may not know in real life just got easier. Previously, if you wanted to send a Direct Message to the ice cream shop down the street about how much you love their salted caramel flavor, you’d have to ask them to follow you first. With today’s changes, the ice cream shop can opt to receive Direct Messages from anyone; so you can privately send your appreciation for the salted caramel without any barriers.
immediate questions. why would a happy customer choose to privately message their appreciation to a business? why would a business want to encourage the private sharing of positive customer feedback? clearly, the change was made in deference to advertisers clamoring for access to a new inbox. no more mass following in search of reciprocity (followed by stealthy unfollows a day or so later to refill the batteries). a post on the edgar (yes, a social marketing service, but don’t hold it against them) blog offers a more plausible “it’s about the customer” piece about why business accounts, at least, should opt in to receive direct messages from any twitter user.
my special place, no longer so special
like many twitter users, I give special treatment to direct messages. I set twitter to forward them to my text message inbox to ensure I see them on the rare days I’m not logged into twitter. direct messages mean more to me. [quick aside: this does not include auto-dms, the twitter direct message/self-promoting blather I get from idiots wanting to thank me for following them and oh, by the way here’s a link to my (fill in the blank). auto-dms, however, are a hindrance I create by following someone I think might have interesting things to say.] after the media coverage, I feared an inundation of unwanted and uninvited promotions.
fixing twitter direct message spam
the good news: the feature is not automatic. receiving twitter direct messages from anyone is a setting found in the security and privacy section of your account settings:
because twitter has experimented with the feature in the past, however, users may be opted in without realizing it. easy fix – just turn it off!
the good news, pt 2: say you’re a business. or curious. or a glutton for punishment. I will say my twitter inbox is not yet teeming with junk mail. a few waves of messages from “users” offering to sell me twitter followers, mostly. for me, however, even a few is an inconvenience. as long as you’re not overrun, twitter has a solution that lets me feel like I’m really doing some good.
take a look at my direct message inbox:
a-ha! kurt, you waskally wabbit. technically kurt is not a stranger; we follow each other on twitter. I don’t know him know him, however, which makes this direct message applicable. hearing I’ve “got great content” is gratifying, but I’ve seen that comment on too many poorly maintained comment boards to be fooled. clicking on kurt’s message brings us to the chopping block:
bam. I’m not sure what twitter does with my report, but I get more satisfaction than with a passive “unsubscribe.”
what’s your experience been like with open direct messages – as a sender or a recipient?