To DM or not to DM?

The Scream, Edvard Munch, 1893

The Scream, Edvard Munch, 1893

When I read yet another ‘buy my book’ direct message on Facebook Messenger this morning, I screeched out loud. I’m surprised it wasn’t heard from one end of Europe to the other.

Direct messaging (DM) or private messaging (PM) is a utility on social media, in particular Twitter and Facebook and a one-to-one message channel between ‘friends’, i.e. people you are happy to interact with on those media.

You may want to say something only applicable to the other person, or small group of people, or something sensitive or confidential. In this way, it’s like a quick ‘n’ dirty form of fast email without messing around with subject lines, composing a message, etc.

I use it principally on my phone to fix timings, send an instant photo or link to a friend, chat to family, fellow FB group admins, friends, and to answer queries. It’s a place for private conversations.


DM sins

  • Inviting me to be your friend then sending me a ‘buy my book’ message within the following 24 hours
  • Sending me a ‘please endorse my book’ (True friends don’t ask like this.) or ‘like my new book page’ message. (Use the invitation facility on your Facebook page!)
  • Trying to sell me something
  • Being a creepy person and trying to hit on me virtually

How to use DMs

  •  If you have researched and tried every other way of contacting somebody – looking on their website (email address or contact form), a friend who might know them, Googling – then send them an ultra polite DM with a hint of what you want to talk about. Send only once. If you are not ‘friend’ or they don’t follow you, you may just have to be patient until they spot your message.
  • If a conversation in open forum needs a personal or confidential answer, then offer to DM them
  • Observe confidentiality about what’s said in a DM
  • Use them to exchange telephone numbers, addresses and personal email addresses. You should never do this openly on social media.
  • Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and respect their privacy

And what do I do if I am a target of one of the ‘sins’?
Instant unfriend or unfollow.

What’s your take on these messages?


Alison Morton is the author of Roma Nova thrillers –  INCEPTIO,  PERFIDITAS,  SUCCESSIO,  AURELIA,  INSURRECTIO  and RETALIO.  CARINA, a novella, and ROMA NOVA EXTRA, a collection of short stories, are now available.  Audiobooks are available for four of the series. NEXUS, an Aurelia Mitela novella, will be out on 12 September 2019.

Find out more about Roma Nova, its origins, stories and heroines… Download ‘Welcome to Roma Nova’, a FREE eBook, as a thank you gift when you sign up to Alison’s monthly email newsletter. You’ll also be first to know about Roma Nova news and book progress before every

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