Should you thank for Retweets?

on January 12 | in Social Media, Twitter, Twitter Tips | by | with 29 Comments

So up to now, I’ve always tried to keep track of who’s retweeted material on my behalf. Whether it’s a blog post I’ve written, or something I’ve seen that’s good and I’ve shared with my followers, if it gets retweeted, I try to say thanks – it’s good for my exposure – and of course it’s just good manners.

More recently, I’ve had a number of Twitter conversations with people on the topic, some who offer acknowledgement every time, some who are selective, others who believe it’s just contributing to noise in the TwitterStream and is completely unnecessary.

By sharing your material, are people effectively getting something of value for themselves and their followers? If so, they get value, you get exposure and the  exchange is balanced – no thanks required. That’s not how I’ve worked in the past – but I shared a blog I read earlier today on the topic of WordPress theme security and within an hour, it had been retweeted 62 times – it’s still going.  Do all those people expect my thanks? I doubt it. Do my other followers need to see that list of names – or is it self-aggrandizing?

Where people make an effort to comment on my blog, or indeed share something I’ve created, I will always try to offer my thanks – either by public tweet, or some other method.  However, I think there it must stop – before we all go deaf.

When I mentioned this on Twitter earlier this morning, I got some quick responses – be more than happy for the debate to continue here, where you have more space to express your thinking.

Have I struck the right balance?

  • http://www.wpmu.org Siobhan

    You make a very good point. Thanks for retweeting my post! I think if I thanked everyone who had retweeted it I would be thanking people all day. I'm amazed at how many people have visited it. It's quite amazing!

    Thank you again for passing it on to your followers! :)

    • http://jamesmayes.wordpress.com James Mayes

      Pleasure – very good post to start with, then the activity off the back made me think about my use of Twitter and gave me material for a post of my own! It's all wonderfully reciprocal!

      To everyone else – get acquainted. Siobhan's responsible for the original post, one of the best researched pieces I've read in a long time!

  • http://www.alasdairmurraycopy.com/ Alconcalcia

    I tend to thanks for the first couple of retweets but after that it's quite often a RT of an RT so i don't bother – plus I've never had the luxury of 60+! I think the eyebrow raising came when you said there was no added value involved. In the absence of the whole story at the time, that sounded a bit harsh.

    • http://jamesmayes.wordpress.com James Mayes

      Indeed – that's why I thought the blog post might be wise…!

  • GabrielleNYC

    In general I don't thank for RT's, but do try to thank new followers for a RT as it's a good way to connect.
    I think one of the best things about Twitter is the information it provides and part of that is sharing the good/interesting/fun stuff by linking and RTing. It's an accepted norm so no thanks required imho.

    • http://jamesmayes.wordpress.com James Mayes

      Thanks for stopping by G. Always appreciate your take on these things. Thanking new followers as a better way of connecting does hold water. Might consider that more.

  • SImon

    Hi James
    an interesting question, as a frequent re-tweeter of posts myself I think a thanks for the RT is always polite but it would get pretty noisey as you say!

    I believe that by me RT'ing a post and others picking up and RT'ing it on is proof enough that my sharing of it was useful and interesting to others and I view that as my altruistic form of thanks

    Keep up the good work BTW ;o)

    • http://jamesmayes.wordpress.com James Mayes

      Thanks for the comment Simon – always appreciated when someone takes a moment to comment here for the first time. The altruistic side is absolutely the key to this.

  • http://recruitingunblog.wordpress.com @BillBoorman

    James,
    I'm with you on this. I don't expect or give the RT love. If you are good enough to send me a link worthy of sharing, thats all the thanks I need. Better to remember your sharers and reciprocate where you can or send a different message to communicte, perhaps adding to the link or asking for thoughts on it. A great way to start a conversation and highlight tweeters. The practice I really dont like is RT's of praise about yourself or your posts. That just jumps out as ego to me.
    Like all of twitter, this is personal choice. There are no hard and fast rules. I have no doubt I have twitter practices that annoy plenty.
    Bill

    • http://jamesmayes.wordpress.com James Mayes

      I might have been guilty of the odd ego RT in days gone by – and yep, looking back now, it doesn't feel good.

  • http://abisignorelli.com Abi Signorelli

    Hey James, great post and I've been thinking about this for a while now. So, my thoughts…

    I agree that it's courtesy to thank people who retweet your own material. And, for me, I'm genuinely grateful when others spread the word about my stuff.

    However, I don't expect people to thank me for other people's work that I retweet (ie, not their own) – nor would I expect to be thanked for retweeting a general article.

    One thing that infuriates me, is when people retweet their own retweets. Que? I just feel it's over the top self promotion and noise.

    And, the reason I retweet…? For me, being on twitter and into social media is all about being social – sharing experiences and knowledge. So, when I retweet, I'm sharing what I find to be useful/amusing/interesting etc with the view that others may find it useful/amusing/interesting and thus benefit from it in some way.

    • http://jamesmayes.wordpress.com James Mayes

      Still not sure about the perfect balance for thanking those who share my own original material. As with the original post that sparked this, Siobhan would be thanking people all day – and would seriously irritate most of her regular followers. Where does one draw that line?

    • http://www.4mat.com/blog/user-alexcharraudeau Alex

      I agree with not re-tweeting your re-tweets. That is a little too much.

      I'll happily thank someone for re-tweeting one of my blogs, but if the material I am sharing wasn't created by me in the first instance then there is no real need.

      Also if you are going to thank several people individually for the re-tweets then do it direct as a reply instead of mentioning them.

  • http://recruitingunblog.wordpress.com @BillBoorman

    Add on: i also dislike tweets refering to comments on blogs when the comment adds nothing new and is just "greatpost." Tweet new views or comments but not all of them in my opinion.

  • http://www.scarlettamedia.com Melanie Mackie

    This is a great post and debate – I agree with Abi in that if people retweet my own material I say thanks, I just think this is polite and shows that you have noticed.

    If it is others material then not as much. And I am no longer thanking people for mentions with paper.li especially when they are auto feeds and circulate daily!

    • http://jamesmayes.wordpress.com James Mayes

      I blogged about paper.li a while back – liked it when it first arrived, but turned my feed off quite soon after. I think they still have a place, but very much around lists and tags, not specific people.

  • http://www.unmemorabletitle.co.uk Andy Nattan

    I think that thanking people is just polite. The real question is at what point you stop saying thanks.

    For me, it depends on the number. If only a handful of people RT a post, it's good manners to thank them. If it's more than that, then I always try to do a blanket "thanks to everyone" message.

    • http://jamesmayes.wordpress.com James Mayes

      That's a fair shout. Love the memorable URL too!

  • http://www.growingdirect.org Carol Ford

    Nice and to the point Blog as normal – my own opinion is, if I just RT because I rate the Twitter person I shouldn't expect a thank you, but if I take the time to look at the post and make some pro-active comments to my followers then a thank you does go a long way. However, I do get the point that this can create a lot of noise…so as Andy Natt says a blanket thanks can help :o)
    Thank you for another interesting post James
    BR Carol :o)

  • http://www.myhellisotherpeople.com thehrd

    I agree with Abi….now THAT is a phrase you don't hear too often! Retweeting your own retweets….I mean really….WTF is that all about?

    I don't thank people for retweeting me but I do sometimes feel guilty for not doing so. I'm a gobby noisy bastard most of the time anyway…so if I started thanking then your screen might just turn into a horrible orange swirly mess. But I do feel grateful and thankful.

    On the same basis I really don't expect to be thanked. I only retweet if I like something or find it interesting. I'm doing so because I want to share it, not because I want reciprocation or gratitude.

    Although you didn't thank me for retweeting this Mayes…..you git. :)

    • http://jamesmayes.wordpress.com James Mayes

      If nothing else, courtesy makes me want to thank those who share material I've created – but the more I look at the general noise, the less I want to add to it. Trouble is, I generally dislike DM's too, so that's not the way forward.

      Ideally, I'd send you all flowers – but that's just because I've had the Smiths playing most of the afternoon and now have images of Gladioli stuck in my head!

  • Sarah Durbridge

    My immediate reaction when I saw the title of this post was, no; it's not necessary to thank for RTs. However, I have found that if I RT someone's material, I tend to receive thanks for doing so and, I do think it's good manners. I will say though that if I don't receive a thank you, it won't prevent me from RT'ing that person's material in future.

    The fact that I love to share knowledge, information, funny stuff, or whatever it may be, means that I get satisfaction from the act of RT'ing so I see it as a win/win, and am okay with not being thanked. I do agree with others that if you feel you should thank people, then perhaps a blanket 'thank you' at the end of each day would work.

    Most importantly, you should probably do whatever works for you. If people only RT your material to receive thanks/recognition in your timeline and then are offended if you do not personally thank them then maybe they aren't the type of followers you want. Similarly if you do thank people as you go and your followers are not happy with the "noise", they can always unfollow you.

    Along the same lines, I have been wondering lately about reciprocal following. I recently started following someone who tweeted a thank you to new followers (again, really nice to be acknowledged) and added that they may not follow back straight away due to workload. It made me wonder whether those who follow me expect me to follow them back – something I don't automatically do, nor do I expect from others. Anyway, I am keen not to gate-crash your retweet discussion so perhaps this is a post for another time….

    • http://jamesmayes.wordpress.com James Mayes

      Wow, thanks Mrs Durbs – definitely a serious response! I think most comments here take a fairly similar line now – which probably contrasts strongly with the way RT's may have been treated 18 months ago on Twitter – smaller community, less noise, possibly more personal. On your last point, you're more than welcome to gate-crash the discussion. Anyone who takes the time to comment on one of my posts has already done enough to grant themselves free voice! I spent some time thinking about reciprocal following late last year and added a page to my blog on How I Use Twitter – you should see it top-right of the page. It covers how I treat new followers and whether or not I'll reciprocate. I've had a number of comments to suggest that (a) it strikes a reasonable balance for my profile of user and (b) it's helpful to see someone being so public with their thought processes. Feel free to continue this discussion on that page if you wish.

      For anyone else new to Comments on here, I meant to add on the About section – I run partial moderation on the comments. What I mean by this is I have moderation turned on for first-time comment-makers, purely so I make sure I catch new faces who are taking an interest in my material. Any comments they leave ARE approved as soon as I spot them – and any who return to comment in future go straight through without moderation. I'll be writing another post on that shortly…

  • http://www.nasrecruitment.com Cyndy Trivella

    Hello James,

    Here are my two-cents worth.

    My knee-jerk reaction is to say "yes" I should say thank you for an RT, but as I read these comments from others, I must say I now have a twinge thinking of all my Thanks for RTs that have been unnecessary? I had no idea it was noise and annoying. This said, the little voice in my head keeps telling me to be polite and show my manners properly. Conversely, I don't expect people to thank me and I don't take offense to it when they don't.

    The one thing I definitely do agree with is that the use of self-promotion on a #FF or RT is quite annoying.

    Thanks again for an interesting discussion topic!

    • http://jamesmayes.wordpress.com James Mayes

      Always pleasing to spark off thoughts and conversations – thanks so much for leaving your thoughts. Will ping you a DM later – we ought to catch up!

      • http://www.nasrecruitment.com Cyndy Trivella

        Yes, please do. Look forward to catching up.

  • http://www.cloudnine-media.co.uk Steve Ward

    Really good subject James – and some interesting comments.

    I have one blanket rule – black & white. I say thank you.

    When people take the bother to
    1. read your content,
    2. like it, and
    3. acknowledge it
    …amongst the vast noise of the twitter stream – then I am wholly, wholly appreciative. RT-ing is often a small gesture – but actually to me – it amplifies my message, and appreciates that I stood out on this occasion – and therefore I am grateful.

    There are many views on social media and what is good etiquette. I have often heard that `gratitude` and `graciousness` are cornerstones of effective social media communications. I wish I did it more – and was greatly challenged recently to say `thank you` on Twitter, etc, more – and I am trying to do so.

    I would rather see a cluttered Twitter stream of `thank you`s than a cluttered Twitter stream of incessant and often unnecessary `#FAIL`s.

    Let's use social media to recommend and appreciate moreso than gripe, and it'll serve it's purpose.

    Am I offended if people don't say `thanks` when I RT them?
    I don't `expect` thanks – but well honestly – sometimes yes, I am offended. It's the shortest tweet anyone has to make – but if there are numerous – I will send a `thanks to all` message as an absolute minimum.

    It's just good manners.

    • http://jamesmayes.wordpress.com James Mayes

      I'm with you on the desire to say Thanks when someone values & shares something I tweeted – but where previously I've always tried to thank on an individual basis, I just don't think that's the right way for me to go in future. The balance just feels wrong – but a Thanks to All message certainly doesn't feel like "noise" and I think that may well be the better move for some of my activity in future. This has been a great post for learning a thing or two – really appreciative of those who've taken the time to comment & share, both here and elsewhere.

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