What is an Auto response on Twitter?
There are quite a few Twitter tools out there that make your first response to a new follower (usually through a direct message, or @ message) hands off (see: canned) and make the first conversation be from a bot & not “you”.  Can you tell that I am not a fan?…hence why I am not giving you any links to them….bad news sister…read on.

Who uses the auto DM (direct message) and should we expect it?
My husband recently received an auto DM from a former collegue of mine that has his own conuslting gig now.   As soon as he got it, he said “yea, as funny as “X” is, that is just wrong”…and he immediatly stopped following “X”.  Is the auto DM’r a busy guy?  Sure, but so are the likes of @jowyang & @guykawasaki and a LOT of other people out there who I feel respect their audience and would much rather connect with them on a 1:1 basis.  If you get what reads like a canned message, know that you just got put on a mailing list, and no 1:1 conversation will take place.  You are just another notch on the Twitter-belt of love.

How do I respond to new followers that follow me back?
Check them out or course!  
See what they have been saying the last 10 or so Tweets (if those are in the past 10 minutes, I usually pass: no TwitterWhore following here!). 
I read their blog, see if we have some common interest (business, sports, coffee, mothering, more coffee)
What is their Following to Follwer ratio?  Are they going to care if I say something that could be relevant to them?  Or am I following them to get their info that is relevant to me? 
Great thing about Twitter?  It is what you make of it.  

Why NOT have an Auto DM?
Breanne Potter  listed it as #2 in her Ten Commandments of Twitter that it shalt not be done (and the other 9 are really funny too).
It is the general consencious (71%) that an auto DM or @ message is just plain spam.  You are not contributing to the conversation right from the start & because you had an auto DM set up, you really don’t care what my contributions are either.  Again, this is my take on those that auto DM…you as an auto DM’r might possibly disagree with me due to your busy and time consuming schedule (which we all hear about….on Twitter….hmmmm).

But I am a Marketer.  I don’t have time to respond to every follower.
Ok then…don’t.  But know who your audience is.  Take 15 minutes every morning & find out who wants to hear you speak.  Find a few every day & thank them – personally!  Find something interesting in them that might actually spark a dialog between two people (or more, if others are listening) and take value in the quality, not the quantity.  Have a personality out there, not a campain slogan.

Now in the case of my former collegue and his auto DM, pretty funny guy & he does contribute to the local Twitter flair that happens here in Boise…but I bet he would have a lot more responses and conversations if his new followers heard from him right from the get-go, not a bot. 

Have I changed your mind?  Are you going to use an auto DM now, or are you going to disable yours right away?
If you are still looking for some do’s and do nots of Twitter read: www.LameTwitterMarketing.com