On Twitter, when we see something interesting, we retweet it, or pass it along to others. A quick look at any Twitter page will reveal a whole bunch of items marked RT, or using Twitter’s built in retweet function. Clearly, we like to pass along what we find.
A retweet has been described as saying “Amen!” to the preacher when you agree. But we don’t always mean it that way. Sometimes we mean, “I found this interesting.” Or, “this challenged my thinking.” Or, “what do you think about this?” Or even, “what the…?”
But how do your readers take it? How can they tell what you mean?
|Dark-haired people are smart. :)
Tiffany Monhollon, Cory Miller,
Aliza Sherman, and Becky McCray
Cory started me thinking, and I kicked off the discussion with this question: “Do you intend to endorse what you retweet? Or are you just passing it along? Perception matters.”
Cory said he had a customer ask if he was endorsing a retweet. “I only put my name on things I absolutely believe in.” He continued, “I find all kinds of interesting but it’s not an endorsement – I try to protect my name & am jealous of my social capital”
I admitted that I have retweeted things I thought were provocative, without necessarily agreeing. I also consider whether I want my name associated with items I tweet directly. So, I realized that I might retweet something I would not tweet myself.
Aliza agreed. She said, “Interesting about endorsing what you retweet or just passing along. I’m guilty of both.”
I asked, “How do we know which you intend?”
Aliza and I both said we had not thought through these perceptions before. Sometimes we retweet before we read an item, retweet something as a favor, or retweet favorite brands to show support.
Business Retweeting Guidelines
Tiffany asked, “Also, how do people take it when a company account that shares & RTs?”
I said, “I think a company account must be more judicious about retweeting. Do you want to endorse all items?”
Cory said, “company accounts to me are more for relationship building & communication than RT content.”
Aliza said, “I would hope most people realize a retweet doesn’t necessarily mean ‘endorsement’ & each of us ‘has our reasons’.” She continued, “I think w/o comment it is more endorsement or trust. W/comment is obvious. I often put ‘interesting’ or ‘useful’ as comments.”
I said, “But at first glance, you cannot tell the intent of an RT. Don’t expect everyone to take time to guess.”
I’ll give the last word to Cory. He said, “I love using Twitter but I’ve also realized I’m a gatekeeper of trust for our community who follow my tweets.”
Want the full discussion? Download a PDF of our tweets. (It’s in reverse chronological order, of course, so start at the bottom to see the first of the discussion.)
Had you thought about whether you endorse everything you retweet?
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