from IPython.display import Image Image(filename='viralml-book.png')
Let's Talk Retweets and Retweet Etiquette!
As Twitter users, we all retweet but how many of us stop to ponder the process? According to Omnicore, we send some 500 million Tweets a day and according to Sysomos, only 29% elicit a reaction and out those, 19% of those are retweets.
Let's analyze this chain of events. Imagine an interesting piece of information, obviously compacted down to 280 characters or less, with or without accompanying visuals, pops into your feed and you take notice. Still according to Sysomos, "92.4% of all retweets happen within the first hour". So, the combination of "interesting" and "take notice" is already beating serious odds.
Let's keep exploring. This morsel does more than just catch your attention - its either timely, interesting, or different enough that you're considering upgrading it to "retweet" material. You run through several mental scenarios like "will my followers find this valuable" or "is it edgy yet won't harm my reputation?", etc. The tweet passes all your standard tests and you decide to go for it and retweet.
Retweeting feels good. It's a stronger statement than simply "liking" something. We feel good for sharing, dynamic for taking an initiative, and proud being an active part of this mass social experiment.
We normally take and take, but today, we give back!
Some of us do this every day without an afterthought. But if you stop for a moment and ponder the chain of events involved for this to happen along with its potential ramifications, it is fascinating.
For a tweet to make it into your feed it has to come from the circle of people you follow. This is a select group of people that have interested you for one reason or another and that you've decided to follow. Everybody in your community is, to varying degrees, different and therefore the quality, value, and surprise factor of what they share will vary to.
But back to our hypothetical example. After you hit the "retweet" button, you are taking that piece of information, something somebody else created that made its way to your "following" circle and passing it on to your "followers" circle. Those that follow the initiator of said information may overlap with your followers, but considering the billions of Twitter accounts, they will be few and far in between.
You have now brought two communities together. If you visualize it as a Venn diagram, you are the link between different Twitter communities. Congratulations, you are a bridge builder!
When you decide to retweet, you're spreading that information to those that trust and follow you. They've seen something in you at some point in time and decided to spend one of their "follow" slots on you (most of us can only follow up to 5,000 accounts). You've become a transport mechanism that disseminates information. In the case a retweet, even though it was created by somebody else, you have become a co-author. Some will see your action as interesting news, others may see it as insidious and an attempt to sway opinion (and probably unfollow you), while the vast majority of your community will never see it due to the ephemeral nature of the tool.
When I look at this human-powered information machine, where we are all trusted gatekeepers filtering content, I am awestruck; we are a human version of the 'Google browser' and whenever we retweet, we beat the odds that most interesting things on Twitter never get seen and even less retweeted.
Here are some of the things I've learned about retweets.
- A retweet is more powerful than a "like".
- Know your followers and keep whatever you retweet as interesting but within your community's scope of interest.
- Retweets shouldn't be limited by or triggered only by the number of followers or "likes" it has already garnered. A tweet seen by only yourself can be just as valuable if not more to your community.
- A retweet with a personalized comment will get a lot more interactions than one without (based purely on my own preferences).
- Don't abuse "favor" retweets - those feel like spam.
- A retweet is valuable for those in a hurry that don't have time to create original content but still want to maintain a certain level of activity.
- Yes, you can retweet your own stuff, especially at different times of the day or days of the week to increase your reach.
Retweet but retweet with care! Thanks for reading!¶
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Thanks for reading!