Wednesday, May 23, 2012 at 3:40 pm.

You Suck At Retweeting

Twitter is a magical place and I am routinely amazed by the funny, smart, and grotesque things I’m exposed to on a daily basis. Many of you have gotten really good at tweeting, in terms of content, velocity, style, humor, etc.

But it really bums me out how bad many people are at retweeting.

This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Retweeting positive mentions of your company/book/show/startup investments often enough that it becomes obnoxious.
  • Retweeting random fans who are pathetic enough to ask for a retweet. (Celebrities are especially bad with this. You’re so funny and composed, why ruin it?)
  • Retweeting five things — including three I’ve already seen — for every original/personal idea you post.
  • Retweeting someone else’s link to your blog post seconds after you posted a tweet linking to the same post.

Don’t get me wrong. Retweets, done well, are an important part of Twitter. If I think you’re interesting enough to follow, I absolutely want to be aware of the stuff you think is interesting. That thing where you retweet mean things that people say about your work is also pretty great sometimes.

(Retweets are also a good way to follow comedian-types, or Jose Canseco, without actually following them. The best 20% of their tweets will inevitably get retweeted by one of your friends, so you can skip the 80% that aren’t so funny.)

Turn off Retweets

But it’s easy to retweet poorly — even easier than sending a bad tweet, because it’s just a couple of clicks, limited thinking, and no typing.

The good news: Twitter lets you block a person’s retweets while still following their original tweets. When you’re looking at someone’s Twitter page, click the gray menu-box in the upper-right corner with the silhouette icon, and select “Turn off Retweets”.

This is great for nuisance retweeters, but it shouldn’t have to be this way.

Put care into your retweets and it’ll be better for everyone.