Adventures in Writing: Social Media Abusers

Are you an abuser of Social Media? Here’s how to tell…

Death to the Auto DM 

Confiscated via Giphy

I get that authors are supposed to be writing non-stop like a bullet train speeding to the next stop at… well the speed of a bullet. On top of that, they might have a day job, kids or parents (or both) to take care of, animals to feed and love, books to read, movies to watch, after school games or events to support their kids at, and more. There’s always more. Writers carve out time in between all the moments of their life to get as many words down as they can. Many use automatic programs to help their social media platforms become golden.

In order to save time, many  authors employ (usually free because many of us are starving artists) an automatic platform like Crowdfire or RoundTeam to retweet or send direct messages for them.  Even if we do have a day job and/or working spouse, spending money on something like an auto-retweeter or auto-dm platform tends to be an expense in the luxury column. You can tell RoundTeam to retweet certain people and hashtags, and it will up to a point. The freebie version will tweet adverts for their service into your timeline and it limits your retweeting potential. Sometimes, there will be 2 or 3 advertising tweets in a row.

CrowdFire… I’ve followed authors and immediately received an automated direct message thanking me for the follow and asking me to buy their book or to download a free one. I delete them immediately. I also get auto direct messages a few hours after I follow someone. I’ve never used CrowdFire or anything like it, so I don’t know if you can schedule such a thing. But, it’s so easy to see that they are using it when the link for the service is included. It’s rude. It’s like cold-calling me when I’m just sitting down to eat dinner.

Direct Messages, whether instant or not, are simply ridiculous. I much prefer someone replying to a tweet or tweeting something to me that starts a conversation. We’re not shy on Twitter, my author friends, my reader friends, my Tribe as I call them, will happily respond to an actual person. They enjoy getting to know people that also write or love to read and just have a conversation about life itself. As long as you aren’t cruel or hurtful, we’d happily respond to an inquiry.

Death to the 1 Billion Replies 

Something I see often as I scroll through Twitter are people who will post an advertisement for a book or a review of a book. It might be their own or another author. And, that’s not the issue I have. It’s great to advertise for yourself and others – in fact, I wholeheartedly promote my fellow authors in my own and genres that I don’t write in.

However, the issue that I do have are those tweeters who will reply to their own tweet – not to continue a conversation they started, but to put up the same exact ad. Once upon a time, the Twitter Stream was non-collapsible and non-mutable. Now, you can mute someone that does this, as opposed to unfollowing them altogether. They’ll see your tweets if they follow you, but you’ll not be bombarded by their ridiculousness any longer.

On top of that, Twitter designed this handy-dandy line when there are several replies to a single tweet. After a certain number of replies, the thread will collapse and a line, sometimes with a bunch of dots between the replies that get shown, will appear. You can click to expand the conversation to see what’s in the thread. But when someone replies 70 or 100 times with the same exact tweet over and over again, you might feel a wee bit miffed.

I personally mute these authors for months at a time. Occasionally, I’ll unmute them to see if they’ve learned the error of their ways. If they haven’t, I usually remute them. I do have one currently unmuted that will post and then reply 2 or 3 times with the same tweet. It’s absolutely ludacris. All this does is show people who do follow you, and don’t mute you, that you are desperate or have no inkling in how to utilize social media.

If you want to have the same tweet go out, use HootSuite or TweetDeck or some other scheduling program and schedule them to go out through the day – 1 at a time. With all the time zones around the world, and different hours that people keep, you’ll easily pick up more fans and followers because they see that you aren’t spamming the entire digital world of Twitter.

Death to the No-Context Link 

Let me explain this one, since it might not be obvious what I’m talking about here. These are the tweets that simply have a link to somewhere – but no image, no text, no hashtags to tell you what is contained behind the link. It could be an innocent link with the FB ShortLink Code and leads you to a long, thoughtful, well written post. However, it could also be something you really shouldn’t click on, that might take you somewhere you didn’t mean to go. It could either be not safe for work or malicious in some way.

I never click on them. Okay… Never is a lie. Never say never! I’ve clicked on one once or twice in the past several years, but not anytime in the past year. Twitter accounts can be hacked and that means they can compromise your trusted readers and author friends. It’s awesome being able to link Facebook and Twitter and Google Plus and Instagram and LinkedIn to post the same thing all over the place so you reach people who may not be on all of the other platforms. However, if it’s just showing a link and nothing to tell people what that link contains, they most likely will not click through.

Your better option is to use a platform like HootSuite to post to all of those places for you. I  would even recommend staggering the scheduled posts so they aren’t hitting all at once. That way you hit people with varied schedules at varied times. Not everyone has time to scroll and some social media websites like to fuck up your timeline to whatever they feel like showing you. Who has time to organize the people they are friends with, the pages they follow, the groups they belong to, into sub-timelines to browse at their leisure? I miss the old days of newest on top.

Want to learn more about marketing and  proper social media use? Join in to #BookMarketingChat via Twitter on Wednesday Night. Follow @BadRedHeadMedia and @MelissaFlicks for more details.

9 comments

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  1. I sometimes reply to DMs and if they don’t reply or reply with some canned response they are gone.

    also, giving more than you get. Don’t be an ad machine. Engage and share other people’s content. (i am guilty of not using hashtags, but i give my links context).

    There’s my addition to the rant.

    1. Thank you! I agree with you, it’s just kind of silly.

  2. So it’s not just me?? ? The mute button is my best friend ! DM me automatically and you are gone! Very well said.

    1. Thanks for commenting. It’s just so rude… lol.

  3. Finally, someone said it. I’ve tried to enjoy Twitter, but I hate all the fake following > < Other writers will follow me for a few hours and then unfollow me. It's like, WTH? I'm not going to do a follow for follow, just no. Act like a human being and not somepne just pimping out their "buy my book."

    1. Oh, I’ve seen these people! They follow, then unfollow, a few weeks later they follow again and I remember them because they haven’t changed their avatar image or display name and I sing in my head “You can follow/unfollow as many times as you want, but you’re just another yo-yo…” lol

  4. Really great, informative article, Mischa! Oh, those auto DM’s. The word’s been out for years that they are annoying, why do authors still use them? And yes, the serial followers/unfollowers. I’m going to start blocking those folks. xox

    1. Oddly enough I woke up to one today! I mean, I understand, they don’t want social media to take over their life, but with a little forethought it really doesn’t have to. Thanks for commenting!

    2. Blocking them is a great idea. Sometimes it’s a form of entertainment to me, but yeah, definitely the thing to do.
      As I read your comment, I received an autoDM. :/

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