Sunday, March 1, 2009

Twitter: To DM or not to DM

You might think that the reasons for using a direct message (DM) on Twitter are pretty obvious, right? After all, we use it to send private, email like messages. But why go private in the open, transparent fish bowl of Twitter?

My good friend and social media expert (there, I used the term, but she really does know her stuff), Zena Weist, gave some great insights about the importance of DM’s. She uses DM’s to improve the Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) of her twitter stream by pulling out conversations that are primarily one to one. Thus, the SNR for her other followers isn't impacted. Pretty interesting, and very respectful of one’s Twitter followers, don’t you think? Following up on the conversation, via DM, of course, we crowdsourced the question and here are some examples of what you said:

FireShot capture #1 - 'Twitter _ Andrea Meyer_ @warrenss I use DMs when i ___' - twitter_com_AndreaMeyer_statuses_1260812257

FireShot capture #2 - 'Twitter _ unhatched_ @warrenss I'm more lax wit ___' - twitter_com_unhatched_statuses_1260577524

FireShot capture #3 - 'Twitter _ Kari Rippetoe_ @warrenss I DM when I want ___' - twitter_com_KariRippetoe_statuses_1260424078

FireShot capture #4 - 'Twitter _ Roger Courville_ @warrenss great question, ___' - twitter_com_1080Group_statuses_1260551655

FireShot capture #5 - 'Twitter _ Laurie_ @warrenss Don't DM much, b ___' - twitter_com_MobileMommy_statuses_1260578584

David Hoang DM’d with a great analogy, “I use @ replies like the Wall on FB... public broadcast to a specific person. DMs are for my/person's eyes only :)”

Based on everyone’s feedback, a poll was set up on Twtpoll to determine the primary reason for a DM.

No surprise that 49% of you agreed with the original premise, to have a private conversation. But I was surprised to see that Zena’s insight about keeping the Signal to Noise Ratio down for her follower’s was second with 31%. How about you? Any surprises in the answers? Any other reasons to use a DM?

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