If you are using Twitter as a means to communicate with other people, super. You’re not the only one. There are tons and tons of us out here using Twitter and as a means to make Twitter a useful service, I only see the tweets from those I follow. At least, that’s the theory.
Crossing the Line
Sadly, there are people who don’t get that there is an invisible barrier to me and the rest of the Twitterverse. I like that barrier. I need that barrier!
If I want to know what is being said by people I don’t follow, I have two options that I am quite satisfied with:
- Hunt those individuals down and opt to follow them.
- Use the “Everyone” tab and watch the whole world post at random from the public time line.
Yet, there are other users of the Twitter service who force me to read tweets from those whom I have not chosen to follow. They do so with the current twitter fad called the retweet (RT). They use their own time line to post, verbatim, what was tweeted by another individual – thus invading my personal twitter-space and crossing the (albeit invisible) line.
What’s the Big Deal?
You may ask what the dog vitamin k
big deal is. You may wonder why I find this irritating. As with all fads, retweeting has taken off like gangbusters and it's infecting the twitter-stream. There are people who will retweet nearly every tweet they see from their twitter pals.
Ok, so maybe that's a gross exaggeration - but it doesn't feel like it.
I'm not describing multiple people retweeting one item once in awhile. I'm referring to multiple people retweeting multiple things throughout the day - every day. What's worse is when it's from the same people who all follow each other to begin with.
So, not only do I read the tweet from the original poster, I read the tweet retweeted by several (sometimes many) of the people I follow, too. Essentially, I'm seeing the exact same thing, word for freaking word, posted over and over and over. It's like experiencing what Bill Murray went through in Groundhog Day on a smaller scale.
Is Retweeting Ever Allowed?
In my opinion, the occasional retweet is acceptable. Every once in awhile someone might say something that you realize a large number of your followers might appreciate. But that should be the first qualifier to even consider retweeting something: a large number of followers would be interested.
After considering the above, the second - and equally important qualifier - is the likelihood that those who follow you don't also follow the person whose comment you intend to retweet. If you and a significant number of your followers tend to run in the same "Twitter circle," then it is highly likely they heard it the first time - right from the horse's mouth. Don't retweet it for the scant few who missed out. You are annoying the rest of us.
If, after considering both points above, you still feel it is vitally important that the few who missed it but will be interested must be able to view this pearl of wisdom, do us all a favor and enhance the experience by adding something fresh to the conversation while hyperlinking to the original tweet. Don't take the lazy way out by retweeting. Add an original thought!
Here are the key take-aways from my rant:
- Consider your twitter followers/audience
- Retweet in moderation
- If you must retweet, rework the material
For the love of all things holy, won't you please think of the children?