Should you send automated direct messages on Twitter?

I asked my followers whether they thought sending an automated greeting as a direct message on Twitter was smart -- or spam. The consensus was clear: most people didn't like it, though a few didn't mind and two that received such a message from me appreciated it.

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  1. This weekend, I decided to try Ifttt, a service that enables you to create interesting recipes that can connect your social networks, amongst many other things. One sends selected tweets from Twitter to App.net. Another one -- which I've since disabled -- sent a direct message to every new follower on Twitter.  

    I tried two versions, to a total of 481 accounts over 21 hours. The first version suggested that people could connect to my Facebook and Google+ accounts, if they liked. The second sent an email address: "Thank you for the follow! If you have a news tip or comment, you can always email me (alex@oreilly.com). Cheers. -Alex" 

    The direct feedback on the direct messages themselves was mixed. Megan Harris let me know that the Google+ link (google.com/+AlexanderHoward) didn't go through and that she didn't care much for auto DMs in general.
  2. Given that this was a tiny sample, I posed a question to everyone following me --- and boy, did I ever catch an earful.
  3. Chethan and Alykhan liked it the message but was in the minority.
  4. Many, many votes for spam:
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