On the one hand, to receive a genuine direct message from someone on Twitter is kind of exciting, especially when it comes from someone you admire professionally. For example: Some time ago, I stumbled across the work of a very talented writer and saw he had a Twitter presence. I started following him and tweeted one of my favorite pieces of his to my followers. What followed was a public mention conversation, as well as a DM conversation. All messages were sincere and authentic. It was awesome.
On the other hand, your DM box can be a repository of insincerity.
Case in point: I started following someone on Twitter who holds a professional position that I aspire to. That person followed me back. So, I DMed her to thank her for the follow, and ask her how she came to work in her current professional position.
A couple of days later, she responded...with a coupon offer for pet products.
Now that Facebook allows companies to directly message followers and vice versa, I think it's time to revive the direct message etiquette conversation. You may have heard them before, but these DM manners are worth repeating:
First off, I would argue that direct messages should never, EVER be automated. Even if it's a perfectly lovely message with a nice sentiment, the luster quickly leaves upon discovering the same sweet message has been sent to 10,000 other people.
Direct messages should stay on topic. See the coupon example above for a lesson in what NOT to do.
Direct messages shouldn't contain links to your stuff that people didn't ask for. If they WANTED the link to your Facebook page, then fine. But don't give it to me unless I specifically say I want it. Nothing sucks more than asking a question or contributing to a conversation over a DM only to have the person respond with something to the tune of, "That's nice. Let's chat about it on FB." Uh, why would I want to chat on Facebook when I'm chatting about it with you here, on Twitter, over DM?
Direct messages from people who never send you direct messages are stupid. Because usually it means it's a virus someone is trying to give your account. And that's just mean.
Direct messages should be responded to. Well, duh. But you'd be surprised...which is why this reminder is here.
What other rules of DM etiquette do you follow?