The fourth Twitter commandments states, “Thou shalt not re-tweet without reading content”. In a recent poll, my dear friend Lilly asked, “Do you re-tweet someone without checking the link they provided in their tweet?”- only 53% said a definitive no! The other votes were divided between Yes (8%), Sometimes (13%), and Depends on Whom I am re-tweeting (25%). While you might be looking at the impressive 53%, I’m shaking my head at the disappointing 47%.
RT is about Thoughtful Sharing
When I re-tweet something on Twitter, I am telling people that follow me that I think this piece of information is worth sharing with them. I am also giving credit to the person that initiate the tweet (or re-tweet). When you RT a message, add a piece of YOU to the tweet (own a piece of it), this distinguishes thoughtful sharing from bot-like behavior. Typical format is:
RT @mention title + link > comment Or reason Or sentiment
- RT + Comment > “I agree with the logic behind it, but not necessarily with the steps used”
- RT + Reason > “a very useful guide to people that are just getting on board the social media train”
- RT + Sentiment > “great informative post”
This provides my friends on twitter with a more plausible reason to explore the “message” and push it further …
RT is about Trust
In the previous poll results, the most alarming group is the one that re-tweets based on historical trust. This is just like you telling me, I always agree with everything you say (all the time) … as much as I’d like to feed that to my ego, that is simply absurd. Where is your voice in any of this? You owe it to the people that follow you to “share responsibly”.
The story of the boy who cried wolf comes to mind – if the people that follow my twitter stream notice that I am spreading useless info one-too-many times, they will stop hearing my call and I will lose their trust.
RT is about Personal Brand Building
Ideally, if you were re-tweeting a link that you followed through and read, I would recommend leaving a small comment on the post. This helps you in building your brand. Personally, I connected with many people on Twitter after reading their comments on posts. Furthermore, many people have linked back to my blog because they found my comment on a particular post intriguing enough to make them want to know more about me.
Re-tweeting is not rocket science, but it does have its code of conduct. If done correctly, re-tweeting is an act that benefits all parties involved – the message owner, the forwarder, you, and your receivers. The figure attached to this post describes the circle of trust that the act of re-tweeting encompasses. The next time you’re about to press the re-tweet button, consider what the message you’re spreading says about your brand, and its promise of value. Think About It!