The retweet is the backbone of the entire Twitter network. It allows messages (and, indeed, knowledge of users) to move rapidly throughout the system and it’s very possible for one tweet to reach millions of other users if it’s retweeted enough and by the right people.
What this means is that even if your network is relatively slight, because Twitter itself is open – everybody is connected through everybody else – your reach can still be significant.
What this also means is that retweeting mentions of yourself is really very foolish indeed. It looks completely egotistical (which of course it is) and accomplishes almost nothing.
I’m sure you’ve stumbled across some of these individuals:
- Those who seem to retweet every message they ever get sent. By anybody, about anything, and at any time.
- Those who retweet any mention they get that is even the slightest bit positive.
- Those who retweet every single #followfriday mention they ever get. (I still can’t figure this one out. WHY do it? The only people who will see this are people who are already following you and anyone else who was included in the inevitably grouped-together mass #ff post, all of whom are already aware of you thanks to the recommendation. And now you’ve just pissed them all off.)
- Those who retweet themselves. Yeah, because that last observation you made was so good, it would be nothing short of a crime to make double-sure that nobody missed it.
All of these actions attempt to accomplish one thing, and that’s to make the person doing it seem more important than they actually are. Look everybody – somebody else is talking about ME! Self-promotion in social media is very much par for the course, but trying to draw attention to yourself using these kinds of methods is entirely superficial. And to observers, blatantly so.
(You’ll notice that these practices are very common amongst the mass-followers/mass-marketers, i.e., those who can only get tens of thousands in their network by following tens of thousands themselves. Anything for more attention, even if it is an entirely futile attempt.)
If you want to thank somebody for a positive mention or #followfriday recommendation, you should absolutely feel free to do so. But do it properly, via a simple ‘thank you’ reply.
Don’t turn a retweet into a metweet by making it all about you.