Did you know, 93% of Twitter accounts use the Direct Message function?
Ok, this is a lie. I've no idea how many people use it, but judging from the veritable tsunami of DMs I receive per day I'm betting it's not far off!
But you can chalk me off as a user of the much-maligned DM as, like a number of people I've spoken to, I think it's been appropriated, stripped of value (to the reader and sender) and transformed into an extremely irritating spammy nonsense.
To be honest, I'd be tempted to throw Death to the DM party if Twitter ever decided enough was enough and got rid of the bloody thing altogether.
Until then, we're stuck with it, for better or.....for much, much worse.
However, I'm game for a laugh, so let's experiment. Over the next week, I'm going to conduct a social (media) experiment.
Here's how it works.
I'm going to respond to 10 Direct Messages and see whether it's actually possible to get any value from this ridiculous Twitter function.
Any DM that asks how I am, what I do or anything requiring a response I shall politely reply to. This doesn't mean I'll come and find you on Facebook, nor connect on LinkedIn. I won't. Sorry.
I'll hazard a guess, though, and say I'll get a single DM reply.
And, because I'm not - usually - an idiot, I obviously won't respond to anything that requires a TrueTwit verification. My blood pressure will only stand so much.
So, here goes. Read on for the results....
Not a single response. Not one.
Now, maybe I went about it the wrong way. It's true, I responded to a few from a week or so ago, and I guess the poster moved on, but I'm willing to bet that for most people the DM is set up to either send automatically upon the account being followed or the account is sending out blanket (read 'spammy') DMs with links to their blog posts/Facebook page, etc., to try and get a hit.
Law of averages, right?
So here's a suggestion.
What if following people became a real-time affair? Follow around 5 new accounts a day, based on the kind of content they're posting, actually read their posts, share them and comment on a couple.
Do this and you're more likely to get a follow-back, a reciprocal share, and who knows, maybe you'll strike up a conversation!
Whatever you do, stop the automated DMs. If you're going to send them out, make sure you return any replies, make sure it's not all about you (and your Facebook page, or whatever), and above all don't feign pretending to care about what I do.
Case in point:
Great to connect. Love your tweets. What do you do?
So, to finish, my question to you:
Do you use the Direct Messages function and, if so, have you honestly found it useful?
I'm genuinely interested to know...