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Jan 12, 2012

Are You a Retweet Whore?

Did I get your attention with that title? Good because in doing so I’m sure I just invited every porn-bot on the planet to spam the ever-living crap out of me. I hope you’re happy now.

Just for the record, this post has nothing to do with real whores. I’ll put that disclaimer out there for anyone who’s hoping that this rant will end with links to local massage parlors. Gah! This is going to come back to haunt me isn’t it? I can only imagine that Klout will now be listing me as influential about whores. Great! Now I’m a pimp daddy (guess those high school aptitude tests were right after all). Ah the things I do just to get a blog written...

Anyway...No, what I’m here to talk about today are what I like to call “retweet whores”. They’re that (fortunately) small subset of people on twitter who like to take and take without giving anything back. Now before you get your panties in a bunch, let me just list a few of the twitter types I’m NOT talking about when I mention this.
  • Personal tweeters: If you’re on the social network just to be...social, then you are exempt from this definition. Chances are, if people are retweeting you, it’s because you’re clever, funny, or have a good point to make. Go with it. The fact that you have entertained me is thanks enough as far as I am concerned.
  • Spam-bots: They’re whores, but a different type. Also they’re not even people so let us not even acknowledge them further. Every society has its fair share of cockroaches. Step on them and be done with it, I say.
  • Celebrities: These are the major and minor celebrities out there in the twitter-verse. They’re easy to spot as they usually have some bizarre ratio of 500,000 followers, while only following 3 people back. Sorry to say, but constantly retweeting Snookie in the hopes that she’ll retweet you back is both futile and insane. And no, I’m not going to make a whore joke here...sorry, but I like at least a little challenge with my comedy, thank you very much.
The tweeters who could potentially fall into this definition are ones like myself, i.e. those who use twitter (at least partially) for business purposes. In other words, those of us who are trying to gain exposure in the hope of making some sales.

If you’re one of us then you know there are few better feelings then putting out a link to your works and having someone(s) retweet it. Not only are they showing an interest in you but they’re actually helping you market your wares. A couple of good RT’s can turn even the sourest day upside down.

It’s all good, right?

Well usually it is. Here is where we get to the whore part of the post. There is a small percentage, fairly minor really, of folks out there who do not seem to understand the concept of give and take. They will accept all the RTs in the world for their links, but their acknowledgement is few and far between while their reciprocation is nonexistent.

Let me just say this is strictly a repeat offender thing here. One-offs don’t really count. They happen and sometimes twitter won’t even let you know that someone retweeted your stuff unless you specifically look in your stream. This is not meant to be a guilt trip for anyone.

However, there are cases where I’ve retweeted another person’s links multiple times over the span of weeks (or months) with nary a thank-you thrown back...to ANYONE. That’s the key here for me.

I think, for the most part, the wheel of Karma inside of twitter is fairly active. You give and you’ll receive...not always from the same person, however. If I’ve retweeted you a couple of times, in some cases I don’t mind if you don’t do the same back. I write mostly adult material, so I can understand if you don’t want to pass that to your YA followers. However, as long as I see you spreading either thanks or RTs to others than that at least tells me you’re a part of the karma chain and that’s cool. I can live with that quite nicely.

It’s those few who seem to look at the rest of us as their personal, unpaid, marketing departments that bug me. Let’s face facts, even Bob Cratchit got a little acknowledgement from Scrooge every so often. What I’m saying is that the well of generosity isn’t infinitely deep. I am happy to help you succeed, I really am. However, I appreciate it when that good will is likewise passed on...if not to me, then to someone else at least. If you’re so worried about “the competition” then at the very least shoot out the occasional thank-you tweet. I’m like a dog... a pat on the head goes a long way.

That this goes even more for readers who support you shouldn’t even need to be said. It shouldn’t be that hard to send a little shout-out of thanks to someone who has shelled out their money for your product, left you a five-star review on Amazon, and is now crowing your virtues to the world.

If such things are too much for you to handle, then I dare say eventually you will see that well dry up little by little. Karma can be a wonderful thing...but it can also be a bitch.

20 comments:

Candace Mountain said...

I personally try to thank everyone who RT's one of my links though I do miss some as my feed advances really fast and for some reason Twitter doesn't always email me a notification. With that being said, I agree with Rick on the fact that there are people out there that just don't understand the whole concept of cross marketing.

Gareth said...

This is all so true, in my experience. Too many people with excellent or even good sales figures seem reluctant to acknowledge my RTs. (Like, maybe they don't need l'il ol' me to spread THEIR word!)...And as for a thank you - well, there are a few close quality twitter friends that always do say thank you, but unfortunately many more who don't.

In summary, this is an excellent blog post and I couldn't agree with it more.

Damyanti said...

I usually thank anyone who RTs me...and try and return the favor if possible.

But nowadays, I have a hard time figuring out who is RTing me...twitter has made it difficult. So I just go to FFhelper whenever and as often as I can.

Cool post.

Rick G said...

Same here, Candace. Sometimes a few slip through the cracks but I think people realize the effort.

Rick G said...

It blows my mind. I mean when someone buys my book I practically want to send them a fruit basket as thanks. Even if there's too many to do individually, then send out a bulk thanks. It's not that hard.

Rick G said...

Actually, Damyanti, I'm of the opposite mindset. I find twitters new connect button (probably the only part of their recent "upgrade" that I like) makes it easier for me to see who has RT'd what...unless I don't check for a few days. However, what it doesn't make easier are doing bulk thank you's. I find I sometimes have to keep notepad open so I can copy and paste everyone's ids into one coherent post.

Joshua said...

I'm sitting on the line here. Wait...does that mean I'm on the whore line? Might have to rethink that one. Regardless, I'm not taking this personally, even though I know I'm bad. I try to RT and thank for RTs as often as possible. The only problem is that the majority of sites are blocked from work (Twitter, Facebook, Wordpress, ESPN, CNN pages with video, YouTube, anything with streaming media, games) and I have to surreptitiously tweet from my phone. I'm trying to get better about it, but time is always at a premium.

I tell you who's really good at it...the lovely Alissaleigh Delgado. :o)

Rick G said...

You're not even close to being on the line, Josh...the retweet whore line at least. As for the whore line....what you do on your own time is your business. :)

I've seen you RT others and thank people. It's the effort that counts. I'm talking about those (albeit very few) who if you go through their timeline you see no such effort. Truthfully I've only run into a small handful of them but they bug me...hence this post.

Elisabeth Hirsch said...

This is such an awesome post. :) I felt so bad a couple of days ago because I checked my inbox and literally had over 500 messages from twitter RTs people had done. This is the first time I haven't RTed all of them back. I just clicked on every one and deleted them. I know it's terrible, but I felt like the biggest sinner--seriously (p.s. my husband thinks I'm A MAJOR NERD for that). I did go through and RT a few of my favs (you included of course :) because you're epic!). For the others though, I couldn't do it because there was no time, then I felt terrible.

I desperately need to find a middle ground here so I'm not being terrible, but at the same time I'm not stuck on the computer 24/7. My friend suggested I just pick my favs and do what I can? Any advice for me?

M Pax said...

I try to use RTs as a reason to try to connect with people. Most times.

Rick G said...

Elisa,

I see plenty of posts and RTs from you. I don't think anyone is holding you in a bad light.

Picking favs is fine. Picking random different ones is fine too.

I'd say if you ever get too bogged down a general tweet like "A big thanks to all of my wonderful RTers!" etc etc would probably get the job done.

Regardless, there's no reason to feel guilty. As I mentioned in a few other replies, the effort goes a long way.

Elisabeth Hirsch said...

That's true. I'll take your advice about sending a "thank you." :)

P. S. I so appreciate the help :0)

Tammy said...

Rick, no Snookie whore jokes? Realy? Okay, fine. Loved this post. I am brand new to Twitter (although have been a well known Twit for some time)so this stuff is actually helpful to me. Go figure. I'm not even sure I know how to RT (had to look that up)but will give it a go. Happy to be here.

Sarah M. said...

I vow to do better than I have. I always (or almost always) say thank you for a RT, but I don't RT much myself. I am more of a socializer than a broadcaster. I tweet a link to my blog a few times a week, and the rest is socializing. I only RT stuff I genuinely found useful or interesting. I could do more, and after reading this I will definitely be more aware of opportunities to RT.

But this does lead me to a slight quibble with your metaphor. I think of the RT whores as the ones who RT everyone all the time, cluttering my feed with senseless RTs. Someone who is stingy with the RTs seems like more of a prude than a whore. Possibly frigid?

What about when you have multiple RTs, some of which are from folks who don't follow you? Do you thank everyone, or just the followers who started the RT chain? Curious about the etiquette on that.

Rick G said...

I doubt I could tell any joke about her that hasn't already been said, Tammy. :)

And yeah, when I joined twitter I was in the same boat. Took me a while to figure out the whole RT mechanics.

There might be a big How-To book for twitter out there, but nobody reads it. :)

Rick G said...

I was waiting for someone to call me out on my terminology, Sarah. You're correct in your thoughts on RT prude probably being more appropriate.

I went with RT Whore for a few reasons: 1) I'm using it similar to Attention Whore 2) it kinda rolls off the tongue better and 3) as far as blog titles go, it's a bit more of an eye catcher. :)

As I said in the post itself, effort goes a long way in my book. The only ones I would categorize as true "RT Whores" are those who *never* bother to try. It's all take take take, but the giving is a black hole.

As for thanking double RTs, I don't see any reason not to. However, a lot of depends on awareness. Sometimes twitter is just lousy about letting us know these things.

However, what I like about that is that if someone who isn't following you RTs one of your links from someone else, that potentially shows interest. Whenever I see that I usually make it a point to follow that person as it opens the door to more relationship building, which is what this social media thing is all about, IMO.

Thanks!

Sue London said...

Since I retweet a lot of things it would actually annoy me if I always got thanked. If I retweet someone it means I thought something they said was funny, interesting, or I've developed a soft spot for them. Then I assume they either appreciate it or are an asshole (perhaps a mix of both). What's the big deal?

Rick G said...

Welcome, Sue!

Interesting perspective and definitely illustrates that, like all things, this isn't a black or white issue (although you're right, comparatively this isn't exactly the most pressing thing in the world. :)

In my case, if someone is retweeting my book links or reviews then that means they're helping me professionally. When that happens I like to give at least a shoutout in return.

Sue London said...

Getting someone's horror book into a special Halloween bookstore promotion (which I've done) or leading an online campaign to get Wil Wheaton one of your dicebags to hold his D20s (also done http://cmdrsue.blogspot.com/2010/08/mission-accomplished.html) then maybe some thanks would be nice. (And yes, I got them.) But a retweet? Fuggedaboutit. :) But obviously I'm in the minority. Thank everyone else.

Rick G said...

Ok, fair enough. Besides, anything Wil Wheaton related gets an auto-pass in my book. :)