Sunday, February 27, 2011

When A Direct Message Sends the Wrong Message

One of the most versatile functions on popular Social Media platforms is the Direct, or Private, Message. I've written about good DM/PM etiquette here before, but it's worth taking another look at the power and pitfalls associated with using the Direct Message as your elevator pitch.

Recently, I was followed on Twitter by a philanthropic organization. "How Can I Be Useful, of what service can I be?" was the Direct Message I received from them. This was a great message, I thought. We all could use a little help now and again, couldn't we?

So, I replied.

And within 30 minutes, this philanthropic organization had unfollowed me.

...yes, they *unfollowed* someone who replied to their pitch. Isn't that a great way to build a reputation as a philanthropic organization?

Direct/Private Messages are a single moment of privilege you have when you reach out to a new contact. What you say and how you say it will make or break that relationship. Presumption or intrusiveness will be instantly rejected. Smarminess will be perceived as untrustworthy. And do we even have to be told to *mean what we say*? Don't ask what you can do to help, then run away when your contact replies. There really is no better way to send the wrong message when your Direct Message is empty words.

Use your privilege wisely - make each Direct or Private Message count. Stand behind your words, so you never send the wrong message to a potential contact.
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