Daily Archives: November 26, 2011

My Twitter Retweeting Policy

This is another one of my “write to refer people to later” posts.

Because I have a fair number of Twitter followers, I am often asked to retweet posts, many relating to charities, fundraising events, petitions, etc. So here is my general policy on that sort of retweeting, and other things you have to know. This is specifically aimed at Twitter, but also works with Facebook/Google+/other social media.

1. I don’t do a lot of retweeting of any sort, so that’s a baseline fact you work within.

2. I am rather more likely to grant a retweet request, particularly one involving a charity or otherwise involving money, if it’s from someone I already know. If you are a person I don’t know, and from my point of view you’ve randomly popped up asking for a retweet, your chances are not hugely good. Please note that following me on Twitter does not mean I know you, even if I’ve responded to you at one point or another.

3. Part of the reason for this is that I don’t just retweet blindly. When I’m retweeting something, particularly relating to charity/fundraising, the message now comes from me as well as from you (that’s why you sent it to me, after all — to take advantage of my notability with my Twitter followers). That means I need to check out the thing and decide whether you’re legitimate or some sort of scam. This takes at least a little bit of time. Sometimes I don’t have time. And by “sometimes” I mean “often.”

4. My “replies” queue moves quickly, partly because people often respond to things I write, and partly because people talk about me (and put the “@” sign in front of my name) on Twitter. I am not always watching my Twitter feed; I turn it off when I’m doing work or when I otherwise don’t want to be distracted by it. I don’t always scroll down to see what I’ve missed. There is an excellent chance I will not see your retweet request.

5. Point four, incidentally, is not an invitation to pester me on a repeated basis for a retweet, until I give you one. Repeated pesterings for retweets is far more likely to encourage me to block your account, particularly if from my point of view you’re someone I don’t know asking me to help you do something I have little knowledge of.

6. In a general sense, with me and probably with anyone else that you want retweets from, you should probably assume that the same factors that encouraged you to ask for a retweet are also what recommend us to others hoping for retweets, and thus we get a lot of retweet requests, and can’t fulfill all of the requests without taking a non-trivial chunk of time out of our day, or annoying our Twitter followers with incessant retweets asking for money (or whatever). Please remember that we and our Twitter presences don’t exist for the sole purpose of being a conduit for retweets.

7. Likewise, if I or anyone else does not retweet your request, before you file us over into the “dick” column, keep all the above in mind. Also keep in mind that when you asked for a retweet, you’ve asked for a favor. A favor is not a thing for which you should have an expectation. If you do have an expectation, and are thereby offended when that expectation is not met, then you probably need to reassess. I will not feel bound by your expectation, and if you feel I should be, I can pretty much guarantee I will disappoint you.

Thanks.