September 1, 2010
Liz published this at 7:46 am
On Friday, @StevePlunkett and I started a small column on this blog called “Steve’s Shorts.” It grew out of my admiration for Steve’s view of the social web and an idea that small observations can be powerful and worth talking about.
That first post had an interesting result. Apparently a behavior on Twitter can go unnoticed, a statement said in 140 characters on Twitter can float by without response, but point out that behavior or that comment and put it on blog and suddenly it has a new importance. In this case, some of that response seems made without consideration to the bigger picture or the reputation and generosity of the person who offered the original comment.
Not a good situation. I am compelled to offer my own thoughts …
What @StevePlunkett said
It started with a short statement in which Steve explained why he doesn’t thank people for ReTweets …
When people say “Thanks for the RT,”, I always shoot back, “Thanks for the good info”.. I read it, I may have even blogged it. It was good info, so I passed it along, you don’t need to thank me for sharing and trusting your credibility. Believing in you enough to click on a link? That you earned anyways via engagement and professionalism. But you are welcome, again, thanks for the info. When you retweet me, you are saying “Thanks for the info”.
Apparently several people were upset by that statement. You’ll note the comment in which he notes that. In that same comment he puts forth an explanation that parallels my own thinking on the subject of saying thanks to every ReTweet.
I ReTweet and pass on links a lot. I like to feature other folks’s content. I see it as a win for everyone. The practice of finding great content to share keeps me reading and learning. The act of passing it on gives the writer one more reason to keep writing and gives those readers who value what I value more to think about and use in the businesses they’re building.
In my mind, ReTweeting great content serves much the same purpose as researching and writing great content for my blog – it offers value to the people I love … as in @SteveFarber ‘s famous mantra “Do what you love in service to the people who love what you do.”
… and that’s where the response to Steve Plunkett’s statement gets me confused.
Saying Thank You for ReTweets and Signal v Noise
When I pass on a link to someone else’s work, I don’t expect a thank you. When I refer a friend for work offline, I don’t expect a thank you then either. Getting that person’s attention wasn’t what motivates me, sharing great people and their great work is. The occasional thank you from someone I’ve not met is nice because it starts a new relationship, but in general I prefer not get a thank you from folks I already know. Here’s why.
- I would hope my friends value me for more than my small ability to ReTweet their work.
- I don’t want my ReTweets to become a kind of currency that becomes a trade of Tweet for a Thank You.
- I am savvy enough to know that a small group of folks will say Thank you simply to get their name in another person’s Twitter stream.
- I’m sensitive to the content that my Tweet stream carries and what value does a long list of thank yous offer to the folks who follow me? A long list of thanks yous that aren’t directed to you are really just noise not signal it seems to me.
- I find other ways to show my appreciation for ReTweets. One is to visit that person’s Tweet stream to read what they’ve written lately in hopes of finding more great content to share.
I value reciprocity as much as anyone, but I don’t live for it. I don’t ever want to be the person who counts the times my actions and expects a 1:1 ratio in a return response … I see that as a time sink and something that has the potential to breed a certain sort of self-ish-ness. I can use the time I might have used to type multiple thank you to build things that say “thank you” in bigger ways and that philosophy allows me to manage my own behavior not chase or worry about whether folks are being reciprocal.
So don’t worry about thanking me for every ReTweet I make. Take that time to do more great things for all of us and know that I’m doing my best to live gratitude so that the word, “thank you” never become a currency or noise that we ignore.
I value and respect your opinion on this. It doesn’t have to be the same as my own. But if you understand my intend, then you’ll know that value for you is always strong.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
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