social media how toAre you sick and tired of Twitter spam?

Direct messages on Twitter are a great way to take that next step in social networking. But too many direct messages can waste your time.

Are all of your direct messages from people you really want to network with?  Do you find yourself spending too much time listening to unwanted noise and managing spam?

Here are five ways to control of your Twitter direct message inbox.

#1: Don’t Auto-Follow Everyone

Auto-follows are an easy gateway for spammers. One of the first steps you should do is make sure you’re not auto-following everyone and be selective in who you follow.

Spammers modify their tactics and it’s not always easy to identify them.  Here are a few clues to identify potential spammers and accounts you want to avoid following:

  • Twitter handles that are not real names
  • Repetitive names
  • Names with numbers
  • Profile photos with stock photos

#2: Block Unwanted Contacts

By systematically blocking obvious spammers, you’ll keep your social media environment easy to use.

You can easily block people on Twitter and remove their ability to send you direct messages.

#3: Avoid Connecting With Unrelated Businesses

You probably don’t want to get promotional tweets from every type of business on Twitter. You’ll keep your direct message box free from clutter by not connecting with unrelated businesses in the first place.

If you get direct messages on subjects you’re not interested in, take the time to block unwanted Twitter profiles from your account.

Pay attention to how you use Twitter.  Set up a simple set of guidelines to cultivate the Twitter following you want. By systematically getting rid of unwanted profiles, this will make a big difference in the time you spend managing your Twitter account.

#4: Use Tools to Reduce Incoming Spam

If these simple tips are not enough to keep you from wasting time managing unwanted tweets in your direct message box, here are more tools to help you.


A significant portion of the auto-DMs are sent out via SocialOomph, simply because they are one of the popular Twitter tools.  Fortunately SocialOomph has made it easy to stop these unwanted direct messages. There’s a simple process to follow with @optmeout:

  1. Follow @optmeout
  2. Wait for them to follow you back
  3. Send @optmeout a DM
  4. Unfollow @optmeout

SocialOomph also has a powerful automated vetting tool for new followers.


This Twitter tool has a few functions to help you eliminate Twitter spam.  You can even set up filters on SocialToo to block all direct messages with specific keywords.

Block Automatic Tweets from Games

There are also Twitter applications to automatically block quizzes, polls and games. LOLquiz blocks out a large selection of them.

#5: Consider Other Filtering Tools

If you ever find an increase in spam in your DM box, head over to OneForty and look for tools to help manage your Twitter account.  Read the reviews on tools such as Twit CleanerTwitBlock and StopTweet.  Test them out and you’re sure to find one to help you clean up your DM box even more.

Don’t let unwanted messages take up your time.  There are many tools to help you control your Twitter marketing so you can concentrate on the networking you want to do, engage with the right people and build your network.

Do you have too many direct messages in your Twitter DM inbox? What tools have you used to manage your DMs on Twitter?  Please share your comments in the box below.

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  • Cindy, you have it spot on when you reference the good tools offered by socialoomph. I always recommend opening a socialoomph account when starting on twitter – it’s a much needed requirement with so many options available to help manage your social networking.

  • Keeping twitter spam down. Great work as always Cindy…we’ve all been there of course, and certain amount of spam is expected, unfortunately. This should help keep it down.

  • Cindy – thanks for the link back to my site. This is so huge – I encourage everyone to do this as it will massively cut back on the DM spam (which often times comes from your friends via quizzes and polls and games and what not).

    It has reduced the amount of DM’s by 90% for me.


  • Trent

    Cindy, This post really helps out in understanding how to get the most time for your $$ on twitter. Now that small businesses and entrepreneurs are using twitter more and more they need to weed out time wasting spam. Through my company Free Marketing Made Easy, we talk about repurposing your product. So by using twitter effectively businesses and people alone can spend less time on twitter and get much more value. Thanks again for providing the great tips!


  • Thanks for the tip about Social Ooomph. I had heard about it…but never really knew what it was.

  • Cindy, here is a question about spam: I get a lot of follow-and-unfollows from users who are typically marketing something or other, and it ends up cluttering my inbox with tons of people whom I am not interested in and who are not following me anyway. Is there any way to mitigate that?

  • Vsteinberg

    My question is this: How can I stop the auto-follow function? I didn’t have it when I began on Twitter, but somehow this seems to have changed. I can’t seem to see where to change this. I don’t want spammers or unrelated matters and want to see if I really want to follow someone. The Social Oomph doesn’t stop the followers, just the DMs, right?

  • You’re welcome Sean, your article is a useful read. I’m always surprised when people say they don’t use their DMs because their DM box is too full of spam when a little routine maintenance before things get out of hand can keep spam in control.

  • Edward, that’s a great question. You’ll hear different opinions but I think you need to first have a very clear idea of why you’re on Twitter in the first place. This makes it easier to decide what to do and I do think that having flexible guidelines help.

    For example as I’m only online for business I like to follow everyone back. But my practices have changed as the different tactics others use have evolved. I had to spend time “cleaning up” my Twitter feed once and don’t want to do that again. So now I only follow people with easily recognizable people names (without numbers), business names I recognize and anyone who interacts with me.

  • I’d first go to your Twitter page, click on the “Settings” link at the top of the page, and then choose the Connections tab you find there. You’ll see a list of applications you’ve given access to. Check those to see which one offers auto-follows. And if you’re not really using any of those applications you might want to think about deleting them.

  • Socialoomph does have the autofollow – log back in and disable it.

  • Hey Cindy! SocialOomph has been around for a while (in Twitter terms). It used to be called TweetLater. And it started out as a scheduling tool to publish tweets sometime in the future, but it now offers quite a few more services.

  • Thanks Dino! It continues to amaze me is how the spammers always find new tactics to try to get under our radars.

  • Thank you for this list! I surely have to go look into some of those tools you listed here! Which one do you think is the best of the ones you listed?
    But as for as annoying spammy things, I actually do have an auto DM setup when ppl follow me! I will be turning that off even though i made it to not come off as spammy, it still may be annoying to some.

  • gameglide

    Thanks for the advice. I just did the Optmeout portion of it. Next I will start cleaning up some non-related followers.

  • Jazz Salinger

    Hi Cindy,

    Thanks for the great tips. I use SocialOomph to try and minimize the spam problem. I have to admit most of the time I don’t even bother to read DMs.

    Most of the ones I get are from people who are more interested in pushing their own products and services than they are in building a genuine business relationship with me.

    I think it’s all about finding genuine people to network with and build business relationships with like-minded people. It’s quality over quantity every time.

  • I’ve recently discovered and I use it to stop following those who aren’t following me. The site’s tag line is: ‘Refollow helps you discover, manage, and protect your Twitter social circle.’ and it does exactly what it says on the tin. Worth a look.

  • Roxanne

    Cindy, I was not aware of socialoomph follow, send a DM, unfollow concept.
    I just did an article on Twitter SPAM on my blog and another on social media etiquette. This article has been helpful for me and my companies. I will pass on the article to others! Thanks

    ~Roxanne Rives

  • This is great! I had no idea these filtering tools, etc. existed! Thanks for the heads up!

  • Thanks for the tip on Social Oomph. I can use that tidbit…

  • Hi Kelsi, I think we’ve been through several waves of spam on Twitter which has made most people less tolerant of anything that could be spam. So although I’d think dropping the auto DM a good idea, you might have one that used to work well. I don’t think there are any rules on what’s best to do, you have to listen to your audience as we all evolve online.

  • Hi Kelsi, I think we’ve been through several waves of spam on Twitter which has made most people less tolerant of anything that could be spam. So although I’d think dropping the auto DM a good idea, you might have one that used to work well. I don’t think there are any rules on what’s best to do, you have to listen to your audience as we all evolve online.

  • Anne

    Hey, if your IT department is threatening to block twitter on your company network, you might want to share this helpful whitepaper with them:

  • Anne

    Hey, if your IT department is threatening to block twitter on your company network, you might want to share this helpful whitepaper with them:

  • Becki Rogers

    Hi Cindy. thanks for the heads up about Keeping spammers bay.

  • Thanks for the tips! DM spam can be truly annoying, thank goodness I recently switched to SocialOomph

  • Kelly

    Twitter is a huge application with a number of amazing uses that can be applied to business. Palo Alto has written a practical guide to how to safely allow twitter to be used in the workplace while still protecting the security of your business. The white paper is really interesting and will allow you to understand that there is utility to Twitter and that it can be an excellent medium for business.

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  • Βουτς

    Hey Cindi,
    How about when you find youself following people you dont even remember?

    I dont see an autofollow button?Just “Tailor ads based on information shared by ad partners” which I unchecked.Will this be enough?
    There is nothing in my apps tab either.

  • Harry Duin

    Stop using Twitter is a very effective way of stopping spamtweets.

  • Misleading. The tools listed above Twit Cleaner, TwitBlock and StopTweet link to Hubspot and NOT to the tools. There is no mention of them anywhere. This in itself set the alarm bells ringing, since the elusive tools are links promoting business and not to the alleged tools.

  • silentfilm

    Where is Auto-Follow located?