Below is what my Twitter direct messages became, automated unreadable and annoying spam.
Until today I was following more than 23 000 “friends” as Twitter (thanks, Jack!) had nicely setup for me a script that was autofollowing anybody who was following me. I asked that and enjoyed it because I thought that if anybody cared enough to follow me I should also follow them back in return and read my “personal firehose” when I had some free time, instead of watching TV for example. Actually I never watch TV but you get the idea! I learnt a lot by following all my community and it has been a really enjoyable experience.
Until recently. It has been a few weeks some people thought it was smart to create autoresponders, robots that would send you thank you direct messages when you were following them as you can see above. Worse, some just use it as automated marketing like check my product here etc. As a DM it is terrible. My direct messages timeline has become a total nightmare and not usable anymore. I had to do something and I decided to remove all my followers as I was too much under heavy robot attack.
I thought about opting out as some of these services offer that option but I did not find it was a good solution because there are plenty of them, you do not know where to opt-out exactly, the DMs do not tell you which bot generated them…
With 23,000 followers, filter tools (including the Twhirl competition!) do not work, it simply does not work, when I setup the autofollowing I never thought I would reach such a high number.
So… no choice. It was breaking my entire Twitter experience.
Please do not take it bad, I will continue to follow many people and add them back manually, search, activated search in Twhirl and other services make it really easy to read lots of content without having to follow tens of thousands of people!
I read very often my @replies so I remain very easy to reach. I am also of course adding following again, one by one, manually.
My rule is simple: I need to be explain how I know the person I am following in a few sentences or why I am following that user if I do not know him/her in person. I will also unfollow immediately anyone sending me automated DMs.
One interesting thing Zac -who wrote a script to remove all my followers today- noticed is that in the process of removing the 23 000 following I lost some followers who have in return robots that automatically unfollow you if you unfollow them, interesting robot play!
Apologies then if I was following you and I do not follow you anymore, I am sure you will understand it was not manageable and since we are behind Twhirl, I am trying to find a way to solve this problem, like follow large groups of people without having the DM spam problem, and I am confident we will find a solution.
If I am not following you yet, it’s all good it means that either:
1) I did not have the time to add you yet and I apologize
2) I do not know you enough yet and I would love to know you better, let’s talk, meet, read each other etc with pleasure.
update: removed the Facebook mention which was not that related.
new update: thanks Socialtoo, unfortunately there are many other services like these…