September 1, 2010

@StevePlunkett, Saying Thank You for ReTweets, and Signal v Noise

published this at 7:46 am

Small Observations


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 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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Filed under Community, Successful Blog | 11 Comments »

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11 Comments to “@StevePlunkett, Saying Thank You for ReTweets, and Signal v Noise”

  1. September 1st, 2010 at 8:11 am
    steveplunkett said

    Love it! Thanks for sharing my brain =)

    “A long list of thanks yous that aren’t directed to you are really just noise not signal it seems to me.”

    hmm.. is this 140 chars?

    have a great day Liz!

  2. September 1st, 2010 at 8:53 am
    PAWeissenstein said

    Liz and Steve –
    Both of you have a very valid point of view although from an American viewpoint. In many cultures it is customary to thank people for every little thing they do (along with the larger ones.) I do thank folks for RTs – not to get my name into their Twitter stream etc but rather because it is the way I was brought up. As a first gen American I can only say that “old habits die hard.” Sometimes I slip and don’t say thanks; sometimes I do a generic “Thanks for all the RTs” but 90 percent of the time I do thank people individually. Why? Because I do appreciate their finding something I said to be of value. I don’t think I’m necessarily alone in this but maybe I am part of a dying breed. And that works for me… All the best,

  3. September 1st, 2010 at 10:10 am
    steveplunkett said

    LOL.. observation: several people think this is rude..

    I think it has to do with follower counts.. if you are sub-1000 then it’s not so big of an issue.. ?

  4. September 1st, 2010 at 10:36 am
    Gabriella said

    I appreciate when people say thank you. But I sure don’t get all twisted if they don’t. I understand people are busy & they may not respond right away. But I can see it in other ways. For example, I make an effort to comment on blogs. As much time as I have lolol that’s a rare thing. But, I guess in order to get one must give. Nothing wrong with that right?

  5. September 1st, 2010 at 10:42 am
    steveplunkett said

    (consciously trying to comment on blog instead of twittering it all)

    Are you supposed to thank someone for Rt’ing a post you RT’d that you didn’t write? or just the ones that you wrote?

    i would MAKE TIME to thank people that RT’d something like my @#sxsw panel voting and voted. Most of the time i am just Rt’ing what someone i followed rt’d after i read it..

  6. September 1st, 2010 at 12:21 pm
    Ali Davies said

    Hmmmmm…have been doing a bit of pondering on your post.

    I have been saying thanks to folks for RT’s.

    Your post has made me stop and ask myself the question “why?”.

    On reflection, I guess for me it feels like good manners and having the importance of having good manners drummed in to me as a child maybe it is a subconsious action rather than a conscious choice. Or maybe I’m just getting over analytical.

    I guess there are many and varied reasons why people either say thanks or don’t for RT’s. I feel if it comes from a position of good intent then no problem. If it comes from an intent of some form of manipulation or to “get” something back, then not good.

  7. September 1st, 2010 at 12:29 pm
    James said

    I think the return on the effort is greater than 100%. It just is not always measurable in the way we think.

  8. September 1st, 2010 at 12:40 pm
    ME Liz Strauss said

    I think you’ve come to the same conclusions I have. If the intent is to give it’s good. If it’s to get it’s not. I like that.

  9. September 1st, 2010 at 12:52 pm
    Gabriel Gheorghiu said

    It’s the “i scratch your back and you’ll scratch mine” principle. Unfortunately, people often times pay attention to others because they hope to receive the same thing back.

    Going back to Twitter, when you RT someone, you mention that user. By thanking you, that user mentions you. Some see it as a win-win situation, but it is quite useless for the rest of the users (not involved in the RT-thanks thread)

  10. September 1st, 2010 at 4:37 pm
    steveplunkett said

    ok.. i’ve been saving this one for the end of the day…

    IF you really mean THANK YOU..
    then why don’t you just DM them?

    p.s. so far..this post has been retweeted 83 times…

    dear @insertname Thanks for the RT

    now if you follow me.. do you really want to see me tweet “thanks for the RT” 83 times. Be honest..

  11. July 19th, 2011 at 2:05 am
    Lyena Solomon said

    I do not get a lot of re-tweets. When I see my friends share my links, they often add a comment. I like to thank them for taking time to read what I shared and for giving their opinion. Usually I do thank people individually adding a comment of my own. When it is a simple RT, I might thank everyone in one big tweet.
    I do agree that 83 “TY 4 RTs” is pointless. As well as getting offended because someone did not thank you is pointless. Twitter should be fun and not about counting points.

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