Don't ask me to retweet (the wrong way)

Twitter (I’m @tdhedengren there in case you didn’t know) is a great service, I like it a lot and although I must say that it works better as a conversational tool in the tight-knit group of new media-ish people in Sweden than it does on an international scale, I still find it more living and exciting than, say, Facebook. Which could change, and sometimes isn’t true, but I digress.

One of the problems with Twitter is all the retweeting. I’m utterly fed up with all these links being pushed out, almost always automatically, from accounts not really interested in a conversation. Don’t get me wrong, it’s absolutely OK to feed your Twitter account links to your latest blog post (I’m doing it), but if that is the sole purpose of the account’s existence then make sure that people know that. If they want to subscribe to your online activities that way they will, and everything’s good.

The pumping of links and hunt for traffic have made retweets even more important. We’re asked to retweet on a daily basis, not because we find something to be exceptionally good or interesting, but for helping out friends and followers.

So what do we get?

A flow of tweets that exist only for driving more traffic to sites which rarely have any interest in communicating through Twitter.

That makes me want to delete my Twitter followings and start over again. Almost as much as tweets like this (purely fictional because I decided not to point any fingers today, I guess I’m getting soft after midnight or something):

Brand New Search Engine to DESTROY Microsoft >> β™₯β™₯β™₯ PLEASE RETWEET THANKS!!! β™₯β™₯β™₯

Oh my.

And then you see that tweet again. And again. And again. Because people are actually retweeting. They want to help. Maybe they liked the story, but chances are that they didn’t even click the link. Yet they retweeted.

Please don’t ask me to retweet. Ask me what I think and I’ll share my point of view. I’ll retweet if I find something good, funny, witty, or plain stupid – possibly with a comment. But if you ask me like this, then forget about it.

So can you ever ask for a retweet? Of course, just phrase it in a way that make me want to read the story, and urges me to retweet if I like it. Asking me to retweet if I like it is a lot more nice, because then you’re telling me that you’re interested in me sharing it on my terms. Chances are I will if the story is half good.

You got the retweet thing right after all.

Have you read <em>Haunted Futures</em> yet? cover

Have you read Haunted Futures yet?

I’ve got a story in the science fiction/near future anthology Haunted Futures, together with the likes of Warren Ellis and Tricia Sullivan. Check it out!