Facebook Is For “Real” Friends, Not Collecting New Connections: What This Means For Privacy

Update:  My post below created a great deal of discussion about Twitter Auto DMs and whether they are welcome and worthwhile or unwelcome and damaging to senders' reputations.  Because of the diversity of opinion, I created a brief 10-question survey and invite you to  complete the survey and then share it with your followers on Twitter.  The survey should take less than 3 or 4 minutes to complete, so please visit: http://blogs.forrester.com/augie_ray/10-11-02-please_complete_a_brief_su... or http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/CFSTQ3D.  I'll share all of the data here on the Forrester blogs in a week or two!

Original Post:  

There’s an alarming and irritating trend on Twitter as of late. Some people are sending automatic Direct Messages to every new follower asking them to connect on Facebook. First of all, auto DMs are annoying (and I almost always unfollow a person for sending one).  Second, I just followed you on Twitter—why is this not sufficient?  But lastly and most importantly, Facebook is for “real friends” and not for collecting connections.  Yes, you can certainly collect lots of virtual friends if you want, but this isn’t really the point of Facebook, and increasingly there will be privacy repercussions for following folks who are not known and trusted. 

From the start, Facebook been quite clear that the social network is for facilitating real and firm relationships and not making soft, virtual ones.  Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said it best when speaking to Time Magazine back in 2007:

“Our whole theory is that people have real connections in the world. People communicate most naturally and effectively with their friends and the people around them. What we figured is that if we could model what those connections were, [we could] provide that information to a set of applications through which people want to share information, photos or videos or events. But that only works if those relationships are real. That's a really big difference between Facebook and a lot of other sites. We're not thinking about ourselves as a community — we're not trying to build a community — we're not trying to make new connections.”

 The reason it’s important to understand how Facebook itself views Facebook is that doing so puts into perspective how the company is adding new features and what this means to your control and privacy on the social network.  For example, when Facebook added Places two months ago, one feature about which some complained was that a person could be checked into a location by any of his or her friends. Of course, the level of alarm you may have for this sort of feature will vary depending upon whether you have friended a couple dozen of your closest friends or thousands of virtual strangers.

Facebook has again offered a new feature that further reinforces the company’s vision of Facebook as a place for “real friends.” Called Friendship Pages, this new feature permits you to see all of the conversations and sharing between two individuals. To see a Friendship page, you must be friends with one of the people and have permission to view both people's profiles. 

To some, these new Friendship pages are “just plain creepy,” but this is yet another example of Facebook creating a virtual space for real friendships and not a tool for community building. It's a lot less creepy for others see a discussion between you and another individual when all involved are close friends (and it should be noted that Friendship Pages only display the communications such as wall posts and comments that you've already made available to others.)

There’s a lot of buzz about privacy in Facebook as of late, but one of the most powerful privacy “settings” gets too little attention: Limiting who you follow may be the most vital privacy tool you have aside from the top-level privacy settings in Facebook.  With potent connection-making tools like Twitter and LinkedIn available, there’s no reason to reduce your privacy and surrender control by amassing a large number of virtual friends/strangers in Facebook. 

Facebook has made it clear how it views its own service, so we should not be surprised when the company creates new features that assume you have an intimate and trusting relationship with the people to whom you are connected. You wouldn’t give strangers access to your email inbox, nor should you do the same for your Facebook communications and data.  



I don't think there is any privacy left on Facebook. For example, some of my "friends" have gotten into the "21 Questions" application. For me just to see what they answered, i have to allow the app access to five different areas. One interesting one is my email; it's already sent me emails, why does it need this again? I'm just not going to do that. I wish there was a way to get the app to stop offering questions about me.

So once someone signs up for an app, any notions of privacy are totally gone.

I agree--apps are also a privacy concern

I completely agree. I said that Facebook's top-level security is the most important privacy setting and who you follow is second, but I'd suggest that the apps you authorize is the third. People approve apps without understanding the ramifications.

As for "21 questions," I just ignore those updates when friends post them. I have no problem rejecting apps in order to protect a bit more of my privacy.

Facebook Fake outs

Recently I was hired by a company to "make" facebook pages for a group of people that worked for them. I was supposed to maintain the facebook pages as if I were these 25 people.
The real people I was told, could not be trusted to not to change their passwords and run off with all this great marketing being done for them."

Now remember - facebook says you have to be a real person - and they were.

Did I feel it was wrong. Yes. I told them so - explaining it was not white hat social media.
They hired someone more enthusiastic.

I signed a "non disclosure agreement" by the way, before I was given this "assignment."

Doing the right thing

You certainly don't need me to tell you this, but you are (of course) doing the right thing. And in the end, companies who approach social media like this will tend to fall behind and fail. There IS a great brand challenge being presented in the situation you share, but the solution is training and not managing accounts for employees.

Dave McClure says some

Dave McClure says some interesting things about the other side of this -- which is that with out without cross-network pollination, Facebook is losing some of the intimacy that made it what it was: http://500hats.typepad.com/500blogs/2010/10/how-to-take-down-facebook.html Surely an opportunity for someone.

Facebook and intimacy

I think Dave and I agree. He says Facebook isn't intimate, BUT HE'S FRIENDED 2000 PEOPLE! Dave isn't really friends with 2000 people, and if he cut that down to the 50 or 100 people he knows best, he'd find Facebook is really a tool for intimacy. Following 2000 people and complaining Facebook isn't intimate is like buying a pickup and complaining it isn't sporty enough!

Facebook Fake outs II

Yes, I agree with your reply to my above comment (on a false persona for someone on facebook.)

I did, by the way, suggest a better use of my large skill base would be to train and monitor their people.

Their answer? They couldn't trust the employees not to leave, change their passwords, and run off to a competitor with all this great marketing.

And I'm looking for work.

Can't Agree Here

Sorry, but I cannot agree here at all. First of all, who says DMs are annoying? Is something that been crocked up by somebody else and now everyone is falling the train or bandwagon so to speak? This isn't the firs time I've heard this and I'm totally confused on it. It's like when the first person said typing in all capitals is shouting. Nonsense. I love getting DMs. When I meet someone on twitter I would love to know where else I can connect with them with. Twitter is so informal sometimes, maybe I want to meet them on facebook or linkedin or anywhere else. I would love to see their blog or download their new paper. Why is sharing more information a bad thing. I thought that was the entire purpose of social media. So, in other words you are telling us to be social, just not that social. I might be into you on twitter, but not that into you to join you on facebook or linkedin. Seems backwards to me and you are missing the entire point. I send auto DMs and you don't like them then delete them. If I see an offer in an auto DM that I am not interest in, I just delete the message. Big deal. Like turning my TV or radio station or anything else. But I will not miss out on connecting further by not looking at auto DMs. I think they are fabulous and a great way to extend more information to your potential business partner or customer. I also don't think that facebook is any more personable than twitter. Maybe my personal account where I talk to family and friends but not by business page. The only difference between twitter and facebook I see business wise is that I can share more on facebook - longer posts - videos, photos, etc. on my page. So, if I meet someone on twitter, I would like to see their facebook as there I can get More information, not personal information and maybe even meet more people I may be interested in on their facebook page, thus creating an even greater chance to build my community even larger. Opportunity. You should seek all opportunities and take advantage of those opportunities to you best ability. Each network is a place to meet more people and spread your message and share your content, develop relationships, build your community, spread brand awareness, and share content. That's why a business is there in the first place, establishing credibility and reputation, crisis management, generating leads.

DMs, etc.

Tracy, I didn't say DMs are annoying! I said auto-DMs are annoying (and this is clearly a widely held opinion.) DMs as personal and private conversion are helpful and interesting; DMs as broadcast messages are spam. Social is 1x1; auto DMs are not 1x1 but 1-to-many (i.e., broadcast.)

The important point here isn't what you or I think but what our goal is with Twitter and whether auto DMs facilitate these goals. If people find them annoying (and they do) and if people unfollow (and many do) or--worse yet--report auto-DMs as spam (and I know several people who do this), then we can debate until we're blue in the face but you're still hurting relationships rather than helping by using auto-DMs.

BTW, I've had discussions with Twitter and THEY disapprove of (although do not regulate) auto DMs. That is the very reason the functionality is NOT built into the platform directly. Per Twitter.com: "Including an automated 'thanks for following' message to your new followers might be annoying to some users. We do not recommend, but generally do not regulate, this behavior."

Need to clarify

There's nothing social about an auto DM on this network.

As I mentioned below, you wouldn't play a pre-recorded response after shaking a hand at a networking event in real life. Why would you send an auto DM on Twitter.

Numerous ways to let someone know who you are and where else you can be found, other than an impersonal auto DM - Twitter bio, a reply to them directly, a scheduled Tweet once a week or month (yes, automatic, but not a DM), an email directly to them (with some - GASP! - research)...I could go on.

Like you, I won't jump the gun and unfollow that person if they've opted for the less personal and nonstrategic auto DM. But following that, I think they have a lot of work to do to gain that bit of credibility back...moreso if they call themselves a marketing or communications pro.

I guess it would go against

I guess it would go against everything I was ever taught as a marketer. I have a lot of people I am connected with on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other networks. If I go to your bio page because I want to connect on Facebook with your right away where can I do that? No where. You can't click on the page, your link is usually your website. I can't highlight and copy the facebook text on your page. I'd have to go search you out on Facebook. I find it also time consuming on my end for someone who wants to connect with your in other areas to just be able to click your facebook link in your auto DM. Wha la! Done! and nice and easy for me as the end user as well as you gaining another Facebook community member. I love it.

Auto DMs are impersonal.

If I don't put my Facebook link somewhere noticeable, it's likely because I don't want to be found there. I do have a business Facebook page, and I do promote it in other ways...none of which are through auto DMs. I would rather NOT auto-thank someone for following me on Twitter than risk looking unprofessional and amateurish in their eyes. I'll engage them in other more productive ways.

In terms of the effectiveness of an auto DM, if you can't take the time to do some legwork to find out who I am and what makes me tick, you can forget me as a lead. If you can't make time to know me and my potential (unrealized) needs, please move on to someone who doesn't care for a personal approach.

If you don't want to be found

If you don't want to be found there, then why are you on there? Isn't the purpose to "get found"? I still can't get over an auto-DM looking amateurish. I just don't get it. Still is the silliest thing I have ever heard. I'm starting a study on this.

auto DMs

Sorry, if confusing as I was referring to auto DMs.

I still think it's quite silly to find it annoying.

If someone signs up for your enewsletter, do you give them a response that says, thanks for signing up to our enewsletter? Most people do. What is the difference between that and thank you for following? I would hope people don't unsubscribe from my newsletter because I sent them a thank you. And then on to your lead nurturing campaign... you may be interested in this or that, download our whitepaper, download our ebook, and follow us here or there, etc. for several weeks bringing your lead through the sales funnel. Asking to connect on Facebook after connecting on twitter is no different than any other lead nuturing giving your prospect another compelling offer and moving them through your sales funnel. Seriously, it's one auto DM after someone follows you asking them to connect elsewhere. That one DM is worth unfollowing someone for?? Seems adolescent. But I guess that's just my opinion.

Twitter is not an e-newsletter


Twitter is not an e-newsletter--one is social and the other is broadcast. Mixing up the two is very dangerous for the goals of marketers and influencers within social media.

The issue with auto-DMs is that if everyone does them, then the usually irrelevant "me-focused" auto-DMs (follow ME elsewhere, download MY whitepaper, etc.) get in the way of the valuable personalized DMs.

In the end, I am NOT trying to convince you and you won't be able to convince me--all we can do is look at the world and deal with reality. The reality is that many people find it annoying, many unfollow and SOME report it as spam. Knowing this, you can manage your Twitter presence however you want.

Obvioulsy twitter is not your

Obvioulsy twitter is not your enewsletter! But you totally missed the point. Do you or do you not send a thank you when someone signs up for your enewsletter? And what is the difference between each thank you? And what is the difference between sending an offer after a twitter follower follows you and another other offer made in your lead nuturing campaign? Aren't you on twitter as a company to gain leads and this would be beneficial to you. Yes, I know social is good for, like I said, crisis management, credibility, reputation, brand awareness, SEO, etc., but the ultimate goal is a lead. Plus, with as many people as following you on a daily basis as well as all your other tasks, one auto DM to thank for the follow and make and offer (unlike anything else you are doing) is time saving for a professional. The same person is not receiving the auto DM over and over. Just once. How can one message be annoying. I truly still don't get it, but like you said that could be argued til blue in the face. As a marketer, I will make another lead nuturing offer when I can to move the lead. Do you place your social networks in your enewsletter? Do you offer your enewsletter subscriptions in your social networks? Not sure if that is what you refering to in mixing the two, integration. Personal DMs are like emailing someone. No one else can see. Even my auto DM no one else can see. I don't see how the auto DM would be any more annoying than anything else posted on twitter - news updates, links to your blog, links to your website, links to your ebook. We are promoting. That's the purpose of us being on there for our businesses. If we are going to get worked up about self promotion, it needs to be getting worked up about all the self promoting on twitter for the population to see, not one personal auto DM sent to a new follower. Seemed courteous to me as well. I do have to say though, that I answer all my auto DMs that I have time to answer, but no one answers me back. I have noticed that. Sometimes I get one that says Ask me anything or How are you or Tell me about yourself and I do. And I get no conversation going which I think should be the purpose of their auto DM to save time and start the conversation, but the conversations are going nowhere. I can't tell you how many new facebook fans I get from my auto DM but seems like a great strategy I guess if someone wants to delete me for it, so be it. They weren't the right partner or lead for me then. I did see the comment about the tape recorded when shaking hands and I do have to say that scenario is in person and not digital. Some people save time when in person though. At a conference the speaker goes up and welcomes all instead of everyone individually and you usually have some leaflet on your table in front of you. It's all just part of marketing integration, touch points, and sharing, and working with efficiency. http://info.trustemedia.com.

Facebook vs. Twitter?! It's not personal - it's business! Right?

This post struck me as rather odd. There are a few themes at play and I think it's worth breaking it down somewhat:

Auto DMs on Twitter suck. Pure and simple. While I may not unfollow that person - largely misinformed about auto DMs - their credibility in my eyes has certainly diminished somewhat. Quite the negative first impression! It's an ineffective and just plain lazy method of saying "hi" and "thanks". Would you bring a pre-recorded response to a live networking event and play it after shaking someone's hand? Not likely... (though amusing if you think about it)

I don't have 2000 friends in my Facebook network, but I definitely have more than most of my connections. Some of them I've known since before I learned to walk, and others I've never ever met "IRL". But I can tell you with 100% confidence that the network I'll go to first for help will be my Facebook network - whether it's for business (consultants, sales, leads, etc.) or for personal reasons (finding a used iPod replacement for my wife or a good restaurant for an occasion). It's more than just a place to swap your kids' Halloween photos. These are MY people - I support them…they support me. THAT'S a good network on ANY platform. Sometimes, I'll use my personal Twitter feed for the exact same thing…though I tend to reserve it mainly for business because of my own personal preferences.

You didn't get into the whole Facebook Pages phenomenon that much. Not the newest Friendship Pages as you mentioned - the pages where you can find big brands like Pepsi and Ford, as well as other businesses and organizations of all sizes, representing sectors of all kinds (referred to as "Fan" pages). These Pages are there for customer (or future customer) engagement among other things. And these businesses have recognized that; so I was a bit surprised that a Time Magazine quote by Zuckerberg from 2007 was used to support the assertion about Facebook being solely for personal networks. In those 3 - 4 years, it's not unheard-of for any company, large or small, to diversify or change direction altogether. Facebook has certainly done that to incorporate businesses as users. And good for them for doing so!

The issue of Privacy is a touchy one - definitely deserving of it's own blog post. I have my own opinions about it, which I'd prefer to reserve for just such a post, should the opportunity present itself.

In the meantime, I think it's important to revisit this view that Twitter and Facebook should remain separate entities (business vs. personal). Social Network cross pollination is a current reality in both business and personal domains; two ways to tell this is happening are: 1) the amount of apps developed for just such a purpose and 2) the number of people actually using them - regardless of intent or method.

I hope readers take a longer look at this view and try using the social networks that work for them and their purposes. Only you can determine what that's going to look like.

Just please don't auto DM me about it.

Sam Title
Chief Executive Cofficer

Thanks, Sam

Great dialog, Sam.

I don't think I'm suggesting Facebook is not for business, but the business that gets done there is personal business. Facebook is happy to have me connect with Coca-Cola if I have a personal relationship with it, but Facebook is definitely more for those personal relationships (personal and brand) than for soft and virtual relationships.

And I laughed out loud at your closing comment: "Just please don't auto DM me about it."

Thanks Augie!

It was my pleasure responding to your post. Definitely lots of food for thought!

I like to close strongly with my writing...glad it got you to LOL. Mission accomplished.

Auto DMs

Hate them. 75% of the time I unfollow, if the person is worth following I usually suggest that they should like/follow/subscribe to me since they understand that a simple follow on Twitter should equal a full connection on other services.

I don't normally report them as spam unless they are spam.


Thanks, Keith.

I approach it much as you do. I unfollowed perhaps 80% of the time. And I will report as spam anything that is spam (i.e., "please visit my site," "I'll tell you how to make money via MLM," etc.) Of course, spam is in the eye of the beholder, isn't it?

Great perspective, I never

Great perspective, I never used Facebook much mainly for this very reason. Technically my true friends would be less than 100. I have been ready to either cancel my account or bumping LOTS of folks off my friends pages. You just gave me great food for bumping and then politely inviting them to connect with me via pages instead.

It is really about networking


Wonderful post, thank you for writing it.

The problem I see here is that many Social Media Consultants and many of the success stories about using social media talk about building links, auto-DMs, and other blurring of the lines between Facebook and Twitter. Most small businesses that do not have the time or staff to manage a full social media campaign want that type of click it and done approach. They believe that if they Tweet it or Post It the business will come.

I believe that most business people forget that social media really is about networking. As in you are there to meet potential clients, customers, or other interested parties for your products/services; like a professional networking group. And like a professional networking group, individuals who take the time to plan their approach, practice, and seek to engage will succeed. They will also know where the appropriate place to network is at and therefore not seek to be on every platform in the social media universe.



Broadcasting vs Networking

Interesting post and dialogue Augie. What I find most interesting is the habit marketers have of being broadcasters first and listeners second. I have watched the phenomenon over the past 4-5 years from LinkedIn group discussions to Facebook friending and now in Twitter. The broadcaster sees the social networking sites as just another channel to blast their message or offer to rather than a place to understand what conversations are relevant and how to add value to the conversation. They view their connections and followers as just another "permission-based" database to use as they see fit.

But connections and followers have a voice and an opinion too and to ignore and dismiss them especially when explicitly stated as you did with Tracy is something bad sales people and marketers do. The social networking world was really tailor made for sales people. Why? Because they understand best that we have 2 ears and 1 mouth and should use them in that proportion if we want to be credible and effective. Others who follow that rule are also very effective in the social networking world.

And yes, I hate auto DMs from Twitter. Thanks for listening :)


Marketers are broadcasters

No doubt about it, Henry--Marketers are experienced broadcasters. What separates the smart ones from the rest nowadays is whether they see broadcasted messages as being intrinsically interesting to consumers ("they want and value what I have to share") or recognize that--as you put it--"we have 2 ears and 1 mouth and should use them in that proportion."

As for my interactions with Tracy, I stand by the idea that our opinions on what is or isn't right do not matter. The final authority on that is the listener and not the talker, so arguing over the "rightness" of auto-DMs is senseless if, in fact, those who send auto-DMs are met with apathy, disinterest and unfollowing. For example, I could argue until the cows come home over the "rightness" of pop-up advertising, but if consumers hate them and install pop-up blockers, then any arguments on one side or the other are pretty much yseless--the consumer has spoken!

Thanks for the dialog.

Why DMs that pretend not to be automatic? That's the insult.

Okay - I'm on the side of the folks that say no auto DMs. Why?

1. If I wanted to know more about your Facebook or webpage - I'd go to your twitter page and click on your link. I promise. Do it all the time.

2. Many auto DM's are so canned that it's an insult to my intelligence - one I got even said "what are you special interests?" How could you read my twitter at www.twitter.com/HorseNPony and not know that?

3. What's the point of canned ones?
You are cluttering my space - Yes, I can choose to delete - like clicking a channel on TV - but I have to scan and delete when I could be reading real information. And I only have so much time - maybe I would have had time to click to your sites (see number 1). Remember social media is part of "Hive marketing" providing content not traditional advertising.

4. I do respond to someone who takes 3 minutes, RTs me well and sends a DM that shows you have checked me out. Try it. You'll find I'll broadcast you back.

5. Oh yeah, and at what point do we mostly ignore DMs the way I am tuning out the commercial on TV right now because we assume it's all just a marketing fling? As you can tell I'm almost there.


And by the way, I thought the topic was Facebook? Maybe we need an article on this?

Thanks, Madeline

Appreciate the input. And I agree--if someone wants to earn my attention they'll do it by learning about me and presenting the right info at the right time. Getting blasted the same info as everyone else is just, as you mentioned, "canned."

And this is a blog post about Facebook, but for some reason people reacted to the (very small) mention I made about auto-DMs. Funny how blog post comments can take a life of their own!

Just to let in on this, I do

Just to let in on this, I do both. Just because I auto DM'd you to join me on Facebook does not mean I am not listening to you or what you have to say. Listening is 90%. I also check out your page, send personal messages, etc. Just because you got an auto DM doesn't mean that person doesn't know how to perform social media correctly. An auto DM is just one tiny aspect of the whole social sphere on twitter. Both can be done and it does not constitute that person is blabbering with a megaphone. This seems very one track minded to me.

Appreciate your input


I appreciate your input and the way you sparked dialog, but time doesn't permit me to keep debating this point. I'll just repeat: What you and I think doesn't matter; the only thing that matters is how the recipient reacts to the auto-DMs.

As with all communications, it isn't the intent of the sender that matters but what is perceived by the recipient, and the recipients are clearly speaking loudly about auto-DMs--they hate them and find them unpersonalized and unwelcome. You can keep sending auto-DMs, but do so knowing most people do not welcome them.

Only social media geeks hate auto-DMs

Two years ago I was so disgusted with auto DMs (which really caught fire late summer '08) I surveyed people about them. I was hoping to use the results to get people to stop using them. To my dismay, I learned that a majority of people don't hate them! In fact, only a minority of people at that time disliked them -- and they were predominantly social media geeks. This was well before Twitter became a household name and celebrities had jumped on board.

Bottom line: it's all about knowing your target audience. If you manage a Twitter account for a business in another industry (music, pet food products, fashion, etc.) you'll find that about 40% (I'm guessing -- I didn't actually run the stats) use auto DMs and absolutely nobody complains about them. If you use auto DMs to send people information they want, they will actually THANK YOU for it. Shocking, but true.

People in industries not dominated by professional marketers also do other things that annoy me (like thanking new followers, saying "good morning," etc.), but hey, to each his own! I would certainly not unfollow people because they use auto DMs.

As for Facebook, I think the sooner people stop thinking about it as a personal tool and think of it MORE as a business tool, the better off they'll be. There is little-to-no privacy on Facebook, so nobody should be lulled into thinking it's okay to post or share highly personal information. Facebook's privacy breaches are frequent and egregious. If people want to communicate privately, they should use a different tool or platform and just cede FB to business or casual use.


Geeks and Dead Horses

I'm honored to be called a "Social Media Geek"! Who knew?!

I hate to beat a dead horse, but this stuff really grates on me. I'll try to stop after this.

So-called social media geeks have every right to be put off by auto DMs in much the same way a good public relations professional cringes at the awkward positioning of a media release, or a really, really bad spokesperson sweating under the scrutiny of a rabid media scrum. It feels wrong, it looks wrong, to many of us who may use social media as a tool to engage our networks, it is absolutely wrong.

To maintain this parallel a PR pro/writer/strategist/etc. may agree that a poorly positioned media release and backgrounders, that seem to completely ignore AP Style, may get by someone who isn't in the business. But send it to a journalist or editor and your name is mud.

This leads me to suspect that the average, non-social media geek, as you described above, would absolutely not see an auto DM as a poor choice in communication/engagement tools. My mother, for example, would never give it a second thought if she was a Twitter user (thankfully she's not). She'd click on that link from Peggy Olson's auto DM taking her to the Mad Men website because she's a member of the demographic who would do that.

So yes, you're right about knowing your target audience. That's what I was taught in PR school on day 1. So I ask, why can't these auto-DMers, who claim to be "marketers" and ninjas and samurais and experts and rockstars, take the majority opinion (their target audience/demographic) under consideration if they're going to attempt to engage with supposed colleagues on Twitter? In other words, we social media geeks (I feel like a member of a club!) hate the auto DM. So stop.

Speaking of engagement: The things that you listed above as annoyances - the thank yous and salutations - are the very tweets that I think help to define social media. It's engagement. And when someone says "thank you" to me, as I hope they would IRL, I know they're human, I know they're listening (reading) and I know they give a damn.

If I had one chance to make a good impression with someone, I think a quick, but engaging "thanks for the RT @nameoftweeter" would go much farther than an auto DM hoping you'll check out and "Like" my Facebook page.

Dead horse beaten. I'm tired.

Twitter isn't just for "professionals"

I think people should use Twitter however they want. In fact, one of the first things I tell the students in my social media marketing class is to ignore rules by so-called gurus and instead, figure out what works for their particular goals and audience. Experiment. Figure it out. If you're clever and provide useful content, you can get away with a lot! If you're tiresome and strictly self-serving, not so much.

I would never use them on my personal account because I'm connected to a lot of people that dislike them. When I use auto DMs for @JazzCrowd, however, people often thank me for providing other links and resources. Jazz musicians and fans were late to the Twitter party and still figuring out how to use it. People in the fashion and crafts categories use them FAR too much. But again, I've never seen anyone complain.

BTW, @PeggyOlson doesn't send out auto DMs. But she does get a LOT of them!

Twitter Auto DMs: Please complete a brief survey!

There's been so much great conversation here about Twitter Auto DMs (Direct Messages) and this seems to beg the question--what are people's attitudes? So, let's find out!

I am offering a brief 10-question survey on the Forrester Blogs. I'd love to have you complete the survey and then share it with your followers on Twitter. The wider the audience, the better and more accurate the results!

The survey should take less than 3 or 4 minutes to complete, so please visit:




I'll share all of the data here on the Forrester blogs in a week or two!

And please: Only one response per person!

Facebook "friending"

Hello, I would never add randoms to my network. I recently read an article that said Law Enforcement Officials were encouraged to set up fake profiles and try to friend people. Lame. I have a friend that works in media and he would "friend" everybody he met. He actually got to 5000 and Facebook would not allow anymore adds. I'm not sure if this is still the case. I am the opposite. Just because I met you, or we have 40 friends in common doesn't mean I want to be yours. I have ignored about 50 requests so far. Mostly people that I went to High School with. That was 15 years ago. And some of these people I was either never friends with, didn't like, or don't even remember. I also have an issue with adding people I work with. I added a couple of my co-workers that I am friends with, and then the rest of the crew started adding me. If you don't respond, then your the jerk. I am using linked in now for co-workers and networking. Another thing that annoys me about FaceBook are the lurkers. You know, the "friends" that NEVER post or share ANYTHING, nor do they comment. But the next time you see them they know everything you've been up to. Yet, you have no idea what they are up to. What are your thoughts on adding all of your family members? I'm about ready to give up on FB altogether. I have noticed that FB have allowed more customized privacy filters and that I am no longer allowed to see some of my "friends" things that I was allowed to see before. What is the point? Do any of you a a friend who likes to stir up the community with nothing but political or religious posts? Or how about people airing dirty laundry? Or using it as a place to get attention. Facebook used to be a fun place to hang out. Now it seems it has turned into something else. Maybe I should write a book on FB etiquette. Or maybe FB is just a novelty that has lost it's luster. Can they bring back "Facebook Classic" ?

Facebook Etiquette...

I have quite a few 'friends' on facebook--a huge extended family overseas, elementary, middle school, high school, and college friends, old co-workers, etc. I guarantee you, everyone on my personal FB page, I have either met personally, spoken with on the phone, or somehow developed a more personal relationship. I love people and I love to keep in touch. I love everyone in my family--I'm Greek, and we're all in each other's business anyway, so FB isn't such a big deal.

For business, I like using LinkedIn, and I originally wanted to keep FB completely personal, yet today's marketing trends are blurring the lines. I do have 2 professional pages for Facebook, but most people continue to find me through my personal page. I don't have any privacy filters. I just never post anything that I would not want the entire world to know. I like that FB can be whatever you want it to be.

Personally, I'm most offended by constant political rants. You can "hide" posts by a certain "friend" without ousting them altogether. I've only had to do this once, to save the relationship. It just wasn't worth continuing to ask them to dial it back a notch. But, people are people. We're all different to different degrees. After all, that's what keeps life interesting, isn't it? If we were all the same, we wouldn't be connecting with strangers on this comment board and having this lively discussion.

Just my thoughts...

Maria Marinakis

FB Privacy


I agree with U that auto DMs are not social. I already took few minutes to complete your survey( next thing, I'll share it with my followers). On the other hand, a Direct Message is an excellent way to introduce yourself/ask for specific info/ thank'em for their interest. I think your conversation with tracy is about dealing with reality.

Back to the main subject, Facebook's intimacy exists (in my case I have something like 50friends -tops), although Facebook's security is being threatened by the apps you authorize, so I just don't do it.-

Social media geeks and marketers should be aware of the different contents and/or audiences when planning their next campaign, in order to get a better ROI.

By the way, twitter is fresh and so informal, let us keep it that way, don't you agree?

Thx for a great dialogue


PS: waiting to see the results on the Forrester blogs

Thanks for the ongoing dialog

I'm afraid I'm up to my neck in work today and cannot give a very lengthy or appropriate response to recent comments, but I appreciate the ongoing dialog and do appreciate the diversity of ideas and thoughts being posted here. Thanks!

Survey on Twitter Auto DMs: The results

Hope you find the results of our survey on Twitter Auto DMs interesting:


Okay don't have much to add - well, may a bit..

Just want to say I have enjoyed reading this entire thread more than any in a long time.

I give everyone credit - agree with you or not - everyone is presenting an argument, thought, or philosophy because they genuinely care about what they do.

And it says something about the current state of social media - like Tim's desire for "Facebook Classic".

Good stuff.

Oh and you know - I confess to having a Facebook presence which is me "cloaked" - only 18 of my lifetime closest friends. It's a place I feel free to kevetch and share more "private" things. These 18 people also get my "non-cloaked" version as well. They just know when they see the cloaked one it's like a whisper just for them.

I do have gobs of friends on the other - and plenty I've never met in real life - but we have a strong binding interest - the Horse world. So I may not "know know" them but I really do want to see the photos of their horses, their newest tack, the last turn they made around an obstacle driving 4 horses and a carriage, etc. and I truelylove the interaction with all the other horse people chiming in from all over the world.

I tend to okay these people as friends based on what I can see of who they know in the horse world, what they do with horses, what kind of horses they own like that -

My "public" facebook operates 80% as a giant horse club.
And it's naturally linked to my pro bono (for horses) facebook page - http://www.facebook.com/HorseNPonyOnline.

My "non horse friends" I guess just roll their eyes (out of love and knowing me) and scroll to a post were I am NOT talking horses... you know - where I am my fascinating, funny, or insightful self.

Now off to study your survey results.
(Maybe I'll post them - not on facebook - on twitter.)