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Posts Tagged ‘Direct Messages’

"I Wanted To Send You A Direct Message, But You're Not Following Me…"

Sound familiar? I get approaches like this all the time. I’m sure you get your share, too. Indeed, it seems a fairly common occurrence on the network.

Sometimes, the sender will put a spin on this, and ask you to send them a direct message. Either way produces a follow from you to them, which in many cases is neither desirable nor necessary.

The catch is, direct messages on Twitter are only two-way if both parties are following each other. If I follow you, but you don’t follow me, then I can’t direct message you – but you can direct message me. It’s a bit of an alien system but it was established to prevent spam, bombing and abuse. Imagine if it was the other way around, and worked like email – you’d get gazillions of invasive DMs each and every day.

That said, like a lot of people, I’m not a big fan of the direct message (DM) system on Twitter – it’s clunky and limiting, and the administration of direct messages is an awkward process. Moreover, a lot of people on Twitter abuse the DM feature, and use it to send spam and other messages where they’re trying to pitch some useless product in your direction.

So what to do when you get a message like this?

First, don’t just automatically follow the person – remember, you’re under no obligation to follow anybody, and certainly shouldn’t feel you have to follow somebody just because they want to send something privately to you. As I keep saying, it’s very important to keep your network both relevant and optimised.

Moreover, because @replies on the Twitter network are open – you can @ people you aren’t following, and vice versa – communication and engagements can be (and often are) made between people who aren’t following each other at all. Certainly, a one-way follow is not the end of the world – I follow over 50 people who don’t follow me back. Why? Because I find them interesting.

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HOWTO: Deal With Spammers, Trolls & Automated Direct Messages On Twitter

As your follower count grows on Twitter you will exponentially be hit with more and more follows and targeted direct messages and replies from spammers, trolls and other unsavoury folk. This article will provide you with steps on how to tackle these nuisances.

HOWTO: Deal With Spammers, Trolls & Automated Direct Messages On Twitter


1. Follow @Spam

@Spam is Twitter’s anti-spam account. Spammers can be reported to @spam via direct message using the following code:

D spam @nameofspammer

You can also send multiple submissions, like this:

D spam @nameofspammer1 @nameofspammer2 @nameofspammer3

Note that this account is only for reporting spam accounts, not for trolls or people you don’t like.

2. Block Them

One of the best ways to deal with spammer accounts on Twitter is by simply blocking them. Accounts that are blocked by many users raise a red flag which will lead to an investigation and probably removal by Twitter. If you just unfollow a spammer, this does not happen. Block them. To do this, visit their profile and click on the ‘block’ link.

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HOWTO: Delete All (Or Lots) Of Your Direct Messages On Twitter… Including The Ones You've Sent

I’ve observed a few times on here about how one of the most lacking features on Twitter, Seesmic Desktop, TweetDeck – or anywhere else, for that matter – is the ability to mass-delete direct messages.

Once you’ve been on Twitter for a reasonable period of time, thanks to auto-messaging and genuine DMs from your friends and followers you’ll very quickly build up a large list. This is fine until you decide you want to delete some or all of them. Twitter only allows you to do this on a per message basis. If you have a lot of them, this will take forever, and the most likely result is that you won’t bother.

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