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When you Tweet, “Thanks for the RT,” I Doubt You Really Mean It.

Chris Whiteley - Sep 24th, 2013

wilford-brimley-rtSomewhere along the line, someone dictated that proper Twitter etiquette required you to thank anyone that retweeted one of your tweets.  I’m all for manners, politeness, and proper etiquette, but sometimes I really like to question the social norm, and why we do certain things.

I can see the importance of thanking someone for furthering your cause or message.  It’s nice and it’s polite, and as Wilford Brimley said, “It’s the right thing to do.”

In a world where reciprocity reigns supreme, you could do more than simply thanking someone.

When someone posts a tweet, he or she typically has some sort of agenda.  Whether it is a marketing push, or just the need for some social validation or attention, there is a reason that the tweet was sent. When someone takes the time to retweet your message, he’s saying, ‘Yes, I agree with that’ or ‘Yes, I can help you further your cause.’  While a simple “thanks for RT” would suffice in the world of Twitter etiquette, it would be nice to make a small investment to ensure this person continues to further your cause.

“Thanks for the RT” ends the conversation.

In real life, when someone says “thank you” the typical response is “you’re welcome”, which I don’t see happening on Twitter.  Typing the words “thank you” into a status update box does not have the same impact as looking into someone’s eyes or hearing the sound of gratitude in her voice. The “thanks for the RT” update just ends the conversation.  You could reply with “you’re welcome” but again, this is still an end to the conversation. Social media is predominantly about relationships, so why would you take an action that abruptly ends a conversation and halts the building of a relationship?

I am a big fan of reciprocity and serendipity (and not just because they are cool words to say).  I firmly believe that really simple reciprocal actions can produce some amazing serendipitous events that can sometimes be life changing. With this in mind, I suggest thinking about…

“An Eye for an Eye” Twitter-style

It sounds dark and malicious, so perhaps I should have just called it “The Golden Rule” Twitter-style.  What it comes down to is really quite simple: if someone helps you by furthering your cause, then reciprocate and determine what his or her Twitter agenda is so that you can help further their causes.

Simply put, if someone retweets one of your messages, instead of thanking him, retweet one of his important messages.  Typically, this has a better chance of continuing the conversation and relationship than just a simple ‘thank you.’ This could also create a “snowball effect” where two people continue broadcasting each other’s messages.

An Ongoing Retweet Plan

To really maximize the power of reciprocal retweeting, you need to have a system in place.  I encourage you to come up with your own system and find out what works for you.  But if you need a starting point, I suggest this:

  1. Create a Twitter list and call it “Retweet Tweeps” or something similar.
  2. When someone retweets a message of yours, scan through his tweets and retweet something that seems important.
  3. Engage with him by asking a question related to the topic of the message that you just retweeted.
  4. If he replies, add them to the “Retweet Tweeps” list.
  5. Repeat the process of reciprocal retweeting, asking engaging questions and adding people to the list.
  6. Monitor this list often and retweet messages found in this list in hopes of having your messages retweeted.

The next time you decide to follow proper Twitter etiquette and thank somebody for a retweet, consider the benefits of thanking them by reciprocating their retweet.  It will likely have a very positive impact on your agenda, as well, you will actually become social whilst using “social media.”

Chris Whiteley is a web developer with a passion for blogging. He covers the creative & web development for bWEST as well he works with clients on traffic generation, conversions and blogging. Chris is powered by WordPress, Fastfood, and pop culture.

3 Responses to “When you Tweet, “Thanks for the RT,” I Doubt You Really Mean It.”

Chris B

Well said Mr. W. One thing I like to do and don’t see much of is to add a comment to the retweet, when space allows. Something simple like ‘Great advice’ or ‘I concur’.

This is easier to do on Facebook where if I like something I try to comment rather than just clicking the “like” button. But that’s another blog post.


    Chris Whiteley

    I agree that adding a comment is important. Not only does it add value to the RT, but it is an opportunity to keep the conversation going.


Sheila Webster

“I agree that adding a comment is important. Not only does it add value to the RT, but it is an opportunity to keep the conversation going.” … much like you’ve done here with this particular blog post ; )

Your ‘conversation’ on the post itself kept me involved and for that reason I’m more likely to hang on to the point made in the post.

Thanks : )


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