Why I Won’t Retweet You

I recognize that all that I have—including my platform—is a gift. I am a steward not an owner. As a result, I enjoy using what I have for the benefit of others. I want to be helpful and generous.

A Man Begging for a Retweet - Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/tap10, Image #13835308

Photo courtesy of ©iStockphoto.com/tap10

But, no, I won’t retweet you.

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This is a difficult decision. I struggle with it more than I should. But I get several requests a day from people who want me to retweet one of their posts.

Here are the six most common reasons I won’t retweet you.

  1. Because you asked. If you write interesting Twitter posts or link to interesting resources, I will naturally want to share them with my Twitter followers. If you have to ask, it should be a clue. It’s like saying, “I know this isn’t that interesting, but I still need your help in getting the word out.”
  2. Because I don’t know you. Yes, we follow one another on Twitter, but we have never met. Or perhaps we have met once or twice, but that hardly qualifies us as “friends.” It certainly doesn’t entitle you to an open mic with my audience. Here’s a good test: If we just met at a dinner party, would you ask me to do this?
  3. Because your content isn’t a fit for my audience. My followers are interested in hearing from me on a narrow range of topics: leadership, productivity, social media, and publishing. That’s about it. If I retweet something else, it is unanticipated and just more noise in their inbox.
  4. Because I am not going to spam my followers. I can only ask my followers to do so much. If I start doing this too much, my Twitter stream turns into spam. Also, I am definitely not going to ask my followers to support you if I don’t know you or I don’t know your cause; I don’t care how worthy it is. It would be irresponsible of me to recommend something I haven’t checked out.
  5. Because your content is boring. People only retweet stuff they find helpful or interesting. Before you post something on Twitter, it’s worth asking yourself, Will my followers find this interesting? I know there are exceptions, but if you want to get retweeted, this is essential.
  6. Because your tweet is too long. Make it easy for me. I don’t have time to edit your tweet down to 140 characters. Insure that your tweet is short enough to allow for the “RT” designation plus your Twitter name. For example, I know my tweets can be no longer than 123 characters: 140 minus the 17 characters than make up “RT @michaelhyatt” (including a space at the end of my name).
Question: What kinds of Twitter posts do you refuse to retweet? You can leave a comment by clicking here.
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Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • Anonymous

    Such good points, even the practical one about long tweets. I hate trying to reduce someone’s words so I can retweet. Takes too much time. And I also get frustrated when someone asks me to retweet.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I know. I never know how to respond when I don’t want to honor their request and RT them. I usually just ignore them. Now I am going to send the link to this post. ;-)

      • http://www.bigb94.webs.com Brandon

        It’s kinda that awkward feeling!

    • http://www.traviswilliams.net Travis Williams

      The official retweet doesn’t require one to enter the RT and someone’s user name. I’ve noticed that many new users don’t even understand the RT way of doing things and us longtime users can’t stand the new way.

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        Yes, that’s true. However, I usually like to add a comment myself, so the official RT doesn’t work for that.

        • cathcartboy

          If it’s worth re-tweeting it’s usually worth re-tweeting without comment. Sometimes I re-tweet then reply If I’ve a point to make.

      • http://twitter.com/michaelmurphy Michael R Murphy

        I’ve noticed that the official Twitter-style RT (without ‘RT @handle’) often doesn’t show as a mention in ‘desktop’ apps like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, etc. Some RTs I’ve only been able to see by viewing them on the Twitter website.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          My understanding is that RTs only show up for the people who follow both parties.

          • http://aidje.tumblr.com Trevor

            Replies work that way, but not RTs. The official RT shows up for everyone who is following the person who hits the RT button, the whole point being that it will be seen by people who aren’t following the original tweeter.

          • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

            Of course, you are right. I had a brain lapse. (Actually, I had just explained Replies on another thread.) Thanks.

          • http://jeffgoins.myadventures.org Jeff Goins

            It’s true, however, that those RT’s don’t show up in certain feeds that you may publish to your website, which sometimes is unfortunate. I struggle with this, because I like the cleanness of the Twitter-style RT, but the fact that you can’t customize and it’s not as accessible as the old-school style makes it a pain. I like that some clients (e.g. Hootsuite) give you the option for each tweet to RT in the new or old style. Echofon does something similar, asking if you want to RT or “RT with comment,” which is good, as well.

            …And that’s my nerd moment for the day.

        • http://www.marketingprvisie.com Remco Janssen

          These RT’s – the ones in full which you don’t edit before RT – don’t show on the desktop client for Tweetdeck, but you can still see them in the mobile version of Tweetdeck (for Android, pretty sure they pop up on iPhone too).

          Twitter tried to make a more meaningful way of RT, but instead they created something that is very confusing. Pity though!

          • http://jeffgoins.myadventures.org Jeff Goins

            Agreed. Twitter has, for the most part, been user-driven when it comes to a lot of its functionality (including the original RT). I think they’ll catch on and adapt.

          • http://www.whoisbid.com Whoisbid

            I agree, it is very confusing for most people.

      • http://twitter.com/michaelmurphy Michael R Murphy

        I’ve noticed that the official Twitter-style RT (without ‘RT @handle’) often doesn’t show as a mention in ‘desktop’ apps like Tweetdeck, Hootsuite, etc. Some RTs I’ve only been able to see by viewing them on the Twitter website.

  • Sarah Sumpolec

    This was very helpful. I’m afraid what it revealed to me is that I don’t have a clear strategy for Twitter and it’s a nice motivation to really look at how to use Twitter more effectively.

  • http://www.webguide4u.com Vivek Parmar

    Impressive write-up, have to add one more thing i don’t have time to retweet your post

    • Nyabzskn

      Touche!

  • http://twitter.com/NoahLomax Noah Lomax

    Michael,

    I love this. It needed to be said. I’m very thankful for your blog. It is an inspiration to me as a young leader and really motivated me to get into Twitter and blogging myself!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks. I appreciate that.

  • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylelreed

    No where near on the scale that you get asked but people ask me to RT stuff for them as well and I usually run it through 2 test, good quality and friendship.
    If I am a friend with the person I will usually retweet it not matter what, but I also run a quality of content test as well to make sure that this is something that I want my name attached to.

    In all honesty I have asked some “bigger” (have a large following) tweeters to RT one thing for me, and it actually wasn’t even for me, it was for my sister and a campaign she was running during the world cup to have 24/7 prayer for the sex trafficking that was going on.

    I look at it like it is a bank that you continue to invest in, if you continue to make withdraws (asking for RTs) eventually you will have no money in the bank.
    I personally would rather have people discover my stuff and RT then me have to ask.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Agreed. I get asked to RT a lot of charity causes. My problem is that I just don’t have time to check them out to make sure they are legit. Thanks.

      • http://modernservantleader.com/ Benjamin Lichtenwalner

        Verifying legitimacy is my challenge as well. Therefore, I really like the bank analogy and friendship status points.

      • http://modernservantleader.com/ Benjamin Lichtenwalner

        Verifying legitimacy is my challenge as well. Therefore, I really like the bank analogy and friendship status points.

    • http://jeffgoins.myadventures.org Jeff Goins

      I agree, Kyle. For me, the relationship sometimes trumps the relevance of the content. But I don’t have a platform like Michael’s, so I could be off in my thinking.

      • http://www.psychologyforgrowth.com/ Dr. Richard Amaral

        Great point, Jeff (“relationship sometimes trumps the relevance…”). As I read blog post on how to increase traffic, one of the most common tips is, “Build relationships with your readers and other bloggers.” This rule applies to Tweeting.

  • John

    So, I take it you’re not a fan of Twitter-style retweets? This eliminates the “your tweet is too long” problem.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Correct. I usually want to add a comment.

  • http://kennysilva.net Kenny Silva

    Some great points here and I agree with all but number 1. I don’t mind when people ask me for a RT, which they often do, as long as we have a relationship and the content is relevant to my audience. I don’t have time to monitor my feed very closely on some days, so I tend to miss things. If I have a friend who would really like to promote a certain post, then I’m happy to oblige that request.

    • http://jeffgoins.myadventures.org Jeff Goins

      I’ve seen you be especially good at that, Kenny. It demonstrates your servant heart, I think.

  • http://www.sharonmarkovsky.com Sharon Markovsky

    I couldn’t agree with you more. And, as you increase your followers, the issues you outline above gets worse…particularly the request for the retweet!

    I would add…”you never check your links to make sure they actually work”. How embarrasing for me to retweet something only to receive an irritated direct message later asking for the proper link.

    As a side note, I retweeted your tweet/blog. I thought others should see and learn from it!

    Have a great day!
    Sharon
    http://www.sharonmarkovsky.com

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Sharon. I actually had that on my original list.

    • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

      Broken links is one of my biggest pet peeves – no matter what the platform. After a couple rounds of broken links, I tend to start dismissing the tweets, posts, web pages and emails before even reading them.

  • Cassandra Frear

    Oh, you are so right. These are reasons I don’t retweet things, too.

    I have come to see my Twitter page as an extension of my blog — which is a virtual bookstore cafe where people can drop their burdens and notice their lives and be refreshed. Its mission is very specific. I’ve worked to create an atmosphere. I extend it on Twitter.

    So I have to always be thinking about what my readers would expect to see from the cafe. Even if a piece is powerfully written, I probably won’t tweet it if it doesn’t fit. I can’t put every single thing out there and I can’t just retweet because someone is a nice blogging friend. I have to think about my readers.

    You can get too many tweets in a stream and drive people out, too. It’s a fine balance, being chatty enough to be engaging, sharing information, avoiding too much self-promotion, clogging up the stream with things that your followers don’t want to read, and still letting them know a bit of what you’re doing.

    I’ve built friendships on Twitter, prayed for people on Twitter, directed them out of harm’s way, shared recipes, helped resolve health problems by recommending a book, promoted other authors, received important advice, and been inspired to live a better life. Twitter magically expands or contracts to fit the need. But still, there are limits …

    Let’s be reasonable!

  • Jay

    “made it to the restaurant finally. ordered the fish and chips. please RT!!!”

    • http://www.bigb94.webs.com Brandon

      Haha! That is a perfect example of what not to retweet! :)

  • http://twitter.com/fmckinnon fmckinnon

    I don’t RT if it’s already been RT by everyone else on the planet. I don’t RT if I think my followers could find it offensive or irrelevant.

    I do RT sometimes, even if it’s not “content-driven” – but I want my followers to be exposed to something I’m passionate about, or perhaps I just want to help boost a friend … and that’s all I can type in this box …

  • http://twitter.com/kmhamilton Kristen Hamilton

    Quick question for clarification on number one. Do you mean that people are contacting you directly and asking you to retweet (via an email or DM for example) or do you mean when someone says “please retweet” in their tweet? I’m curious because Dan Zarella’s research seems to indicate that when someone says “please retweet” within the tweet it does in fact spur retweeting. http://mashable.com/2009/02/17/twitter-retweets/

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I am talking about DMs. Personally, I don’t like the others either.

  • http://www.jeffrandleman.com Jeff Randleman

    I agree wholeheartedly! I get enough “junk” email in my email reader, without having to sort through Twitter posts too. I might miss something this way, but wat I do is this: if it says RT (or FWD), I delete it or ignore it. I don’t really care if it even came from my mom (she sends me a lot of FWDs). So I guess I would add to your list “I don’t have the time to RT everything that comes across my radar.”

  • http://geoffreywebb.wordpress.com/ Geoff Webb

    Thanks for protecting us; it’s why we’re still here.

  • http://twitter.com/2020VisionBook Joshua Hood

    Like you say, Mike, “It’s content, stupid.” Content rules. Great content covers a multitude of faults.

    Josh Hood
    2020visiononline.org

  • http://twitter.com/B_Schebs B_Schebs

    Michael,

    Thanks for the great insight again. I refuse to RT anything that I have seen from multiple sources already, or thinks that are not meaningfull or passionate to me. Keep up the great posts. and Can you please RT this comment. :)

  • http://www.laurarenegar.blogspot.com Laura Renegar

    Great post. I would add to your list of reasons not to retweet that sometimes the blog is poorly edited. If people want to be taken seriously in a profession, they should be professional.

  • http://twitter.com/CaroleTurner Carole Turner

    Amen, Amen, Amen, if someone ask me, I wont do it. It so weird if you ask me. I say tweet or don’t tweet but don’t ask me to retweet. :-)

  • Ashley Musick

    I almost can’t believe that believe would ask you to do this. It seems like social media awkwardness.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It is definitely awkward for me!

    • Ben

      I was thinking the same thing.

  • Mike

    I haven’t ever had someone ask me to retweet, although I have seen the requests in tweets. I only retweet what I think my limited number of followers would be interested in. I think one of your commentators remarked about content being king. I couldn’t agree more. Good content will get retweeted.

  • http://twitter.com/danielHERNDON Daniel Herndon

    I agree with all except for the first one. Sometimes just because your friend or colleague did not catch your tweet does not mean they won’t be interested in it. You have to tell people the content is there and always have.

    For example. I don’t read twitter as the bulk of my daily activity. I also do… work. If someone wants me to share something that is worth sharing, make sure you let me know. That’s how you promote things.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think that is the difference between tweeting and retweeting. Yes, people have to know the content is there; that’s why we tweet about it. I don’t even mind if my friends (real friends) as me to retweet it. However, they almost never do.

  • Anonymous

    A twist on your observations (all valid points) is that I tend to ignore the viral RTers. I’m about to quit following some folks who go on RT rampages. I ignore ALL of their RTs.

    I’m not in a position to be solicited as you are, but I find myself RTing only that which I discern as worth forwarding. It’s similar to all of the e-mail requests that challenge me to forward or confess to having inadequate faith. Ridiculous.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I agree. Unfortunately, all the RTs can pollute the Twitter ecosystem.

  • http://twitter.com/justinfalls Justin Falls

    Thanks for saying what needed to be said, Michael. As a young leader, I appreciate your sincere heart and love reading your insightful blog and tweets. Well done!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Justin. I appreciate that.

  • Mr Dominiquejohnson

    Good post Michael, this one goes in my favorites. I’m working on narrowing down my twitter subjects to urban ministry and leadership, and education. Blessings brother keep up the good work.

  • http://traceepersiko.wordpress.com Traceepersiko

    Michael,

    Your points are so valid. With the nature of your profession, I would think that is requires much more of a conscious effort to protect your space online. Your blog is your thoughts and heart. You are protecting other readers as well by keeping the value of genuiness.

  • DrDavidFrisbie

    THANK YOU for this wise policy. Anything less would dilute your brand — and you have strong, reliable brand presence in the marketplace. You produce content that we actually READ instead of just scanning….

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  • http://twitter.com/katdish katdish

    Wow. Way to be honest. Especially the first one. I understand that people are trying to get exposure for their work. I also understand how difficult it can be for someone starting out to build a platform. Having said that, I also understand that if I retweeted something just because you asked me to and it’s less than great, chances are people are going to click on the link & leave disappointed–with the article and with me. I sincerely want to help promote other writers and bloggers, but if I damage my own reputation by retweeting everything, my ability to help others becomes severely limited.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      That is exactly right. Thanks.

  • http://relevantbrokenness.com Marni Arnold

    Very good points made – very, very good points.

    I honestly mainly retweet what is relevant to the message God has commissioned me to spread through my life concerning Him and His truth – and sometimes I retweet something I find that will brighten someone else’s day. Beyond these two aspects, I don’t retweet – especially just simple updates on someone’s personal life.

    In turn, I never ask others to retweet me. If they want to – that is their decision.

  • Joshua B Young

    Great points Michael.

    I feel this current communication revolution has created an entirely new playing field that is so much more balanced, fair, and, as you continuously reiterate, content driven. My perspective is, if I produce good content, and more importantly highlight other people’s good content, then I will be able to expand my influence. It all goes back to a renewed sense of consideration of my followers, and what THEY want.

    Even if I find an article I want to pass along in an email to a few friends, I take certain precautions to think about the recipients. I Bcc all of the people I sent an article to (to prevent unnecessary passing along of emails), and write a personal note about why I think this content is beneficial to them.

    Bottom line, new technology is highlighting the users needed and social networking is filtering out the spam at a greater pace than ever before.

    Happy Tweeting!

    (and filtering!)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      With so much information, we count on our friends more and more to be our human search engines. However, our credibility is earned—or lost—one pass-a-long at time.

    • http://stevencribbs.com Steven Cribbs

      Well put. I think it comes down to a general sense of respect. In a lot of ways our culture has set aside the concept of respect. And now, not only do we need to regain the basic concept, with the revolution in technology and communication, we have a whole new world that we must learn how to be respectful in.

  • www.therextras.com

    I have been following your rules for a while. Works for me, too. No. 6 is esp helpful for screening tweets and making sure mine are not too long. Thanks, Barbara

  • http://www.bigb94.webs.com Brandon

    That explains why you never retweet me! haha…Just kidding. I’m guessing that you never retweet me because- I’m not on twitter! :)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      It is difficult to retweet someone who doesn’t tweet. ;-)

  • http://twitter.com/doughibbard Doug Hibbard

    I think there’s a line between personal tweeting and turning into pure marketing. The pure marketing makes me crazy. I’d rather see people just use a ‘personal’ twitter account for the things that matter to them, rather than just constant retweeting.

    • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

      So true. Actually, that might cross over into sales. Pure marketing is invisible. (You can retweet that)

  • http://www.tonyjalicea.com Tony Alicea

    I’m on the fence about the requesting a RT. I agree you shouldn’t just blindly solicit to anyone but if you’ve had some interaction, I think it might be okay. Of course it should meet the other qualifications you mentioned. I’ve never done it myself but might consider it if someone asked me.

    If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.

  • http://www.tonyjalicea.com Tony Alicea

    I’m on the fence about the requesting a RT. I agree you shouldn’t just blindly solicit to anyone but if you’ve had some interaction, I think it might be okay. Of course it should meet the other qualifications you mentioned. I’ve never done it myself but might consider it if someone asked me.

    If you don’t ask, the answer is always no.

  • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

    I won’t retweet something that has a self-promotion retweet request on it. I love to retweet stuff that I genuinely enjoy, but if you ask me to, even if I do enjoy it? That just leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

    That said, if you ask me to retweet something because it can have a very direct impact on other people, then yeah, I’ll probably pass that along.

    And I totally agree that you should leave space for retweeting. Took me a while to get that, but it’s absolutely true. I’m far less likely to edit your tweet to make it fit.

  • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

    I won’t retweet something that has a self-promotion retweet request on it. I love to retweet stuff that I genuinely enjoy, but if you ask me to, even if I do enjoy it? That just leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

    That said, if you ask me to retweet something because it can have a very direct impact on other people, then yeah, I’ll probably pass that along.

    And I totally agree that you should leave space for retweeting. Took me a while to get that, but it’s absolutely true. I’m far less likely to edit your tweet to make it fit.

  • Iamthewriteone

    I am thankful for your “narrow focus.” Sometimes it’s all I can do to try and stay current with some professional news since I teach expository writing in middle school. Carving out time to read something other than curriculum, etc. is an effort and you ALWAYS make me glad I did.
    – Cheryl B. Lemine

  • http://www.yuzzi.com Rick Yuzzi

    I agree with 3 and 5. As for # 2, I know very few people that I follow on Twitter, and I don’t think I need to know them personally if I think their tweet will be of interest to those who follow me. Also, if someone’s tweet is particularly interesting, I’ll take a little time to edit it down to 140, or I’ll just hit the retweet feature in Twitter/Tweetdeck so I don’t need to worry about the length. As far as #1, no one’s ever asked me to retweet them personally (i.e. through an @ mention or DM). I’d look at those individually based on how they fit with numbers 3 & 5.

    This being said, I don’t have nearly the number of followers you do. But, I don’t think that would change my thinking on retweets, other than being sure I didn’t spam my followers. It’s a given that I would not want to retweet so much that it would be seen as spammy, but that’s not why I choose whether or not to retweet a specific individual. It’s all about the content and how useful I think it would be.

  • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

    How do they ask you to retweet on twitter anyhow? It’s so few characters. Is there an abreviation I don’t know about, PlzRT or #ICanHazRT? Something like that?

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      The next time I ask for a RT, I’m so using #ICanHazRT. Love it!

      • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

        Take it and run with it. And send me royalties.

    • http://www.alise-write.com Alise Wright

      The next time I ask for a RT, I’m so using #ICanHazRT. Love it!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      They DM me and me to retweet them.

      • http://www.bretmavrich.com Bret Mavrich

        Still, that’s crazy.

  • http://twitter.com/DanielBecerra Daniel Becerra

    Hi Michael,

    Great article, congrats. Two quick questions:

    1. I see you follow plenty of people, are you following just about everyone who follows you?
    2. When you read through their tweets, obviously there are many, do you ever read those from those you don’t know? if so, what would make you read them? catchy title? picture? etc?

    I hope these are valid questions, thanks for everything Michael!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Yes, I used to auto-follow everyone who followed me, just as a courtesy, so we would DM one another. However, replies are almost as good, since if you start with another user’s name, the only people that see the message are the people who follow both of you.

      I segregate tweets into columns using HootSuite. I have one column for my DMs, one for Mentions, one for my family, my personal friends, one for my co-workers, authors, etc.

      • http://twitter.com/DanielBecerra Daniel Becerra

        Thanks :)

      • http://jackr.myopenid.com/ Jack Repenning

        Wow! You just made a cogent case for what was once called “the new reply semantics” (before it was lost in the debates over “the new retweet logic”): “replies only to mutual followers” frees the replier of the nagging compulsion to follow someone just for a brief exchange.

  • http://www.davidsantistevan.com David Santistevan

    Even if someone is my friend I don’t necessarily RT what they write. For me to RT, it needs to provide value for my readers, like you mentioned. I find it helpful to think of how I am “taking care” of those who follow me.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I agree. Again, I only RT it if I think it will add value to my followers.

  • http://www.thepriceoftrust.com Amanda

    I won’t retweet things that are against my moral standards or against what I stand for. If I like it, I’ll retweet. If someone asks, I probably won’t.

  • Brody Harper

    I’ve read twice now, on 2 different posts the phrase, “Because your content is boring.” On this post and on the one where you said you unsubscribed to a bunch of blogs.

    I mean no disrespect, but I completely disagree with the way you put it. I’m a firm believer that everyone has something interesting to say to someone…. and I think Seth Godin, Gary Vanerchuck, and Tony Hsieh would agree with me.

    I think I get what you’re saying… that people bore you… but it’s a pretty broad statement to say that someone’s content is “boring”. Especially after they’ve taken the time to go online and post it.

    Maybe it’s just the way you say it, but for some reason that bothers me.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I’m not saying everyone’s content bores me (obviously). I personally subscribe to over 200 blogs that don’t bore me. The point I am making is that this is a major reason why people don’t pick up followers or blog subscribers. And I think Seth, Gary, and Tony would agree with me. ;-)

  • http://twitter.com/rodneyeason Rodney Eason

    I would like to suggest you add the Ecclesiastes 1 principle. If Michael Hyatt retweets me, then what. What does it mean?
    You have built your platform by discipline, strategy, and focus. If you retweet me or someone else, it pushes my message to the masses but then what? Do I want more followers, do I want them to like my brand, do I want you to retweet me again?
    Sorry to get spiritual on you but I hate seeing Godly people become absorbed in an on-line popularity game when, as this passage says, it is all “meaningless, meaningless!” if their heart is not in the right spot.

  • http://twitter.com/shermancox shermancox

    I wondered why…lol..

    I really feel you on that “being a good steward” thing. Thanks for the post…I think I’m gonna reteet it…lol

  • http://twitter.com/philippknoll Philipp Knoll

    This image perfectly illustrates how Twitter is soooo often misused. I have not totally made up my mind about this yet but I have a hard time dealing with all that: Please retweet no matter what – I’m screaming, I’m yelling, can’t you hear me!

    I find it especially hard to share tweets and other content with my network if it is not even original content. I had the enormous pleasure to get updates by people who would posts quotes daily without the interruption of only one original thought that they came up with all by themselves – in a year.

    I love to engage with the people I follow and connect with. To me following someone means more then just a click. It means that I actually care about those people and value their input into my life like with your articles and tweets.

    Even though I just returned to twitter after a year of absence it seams that my BS radar is working better then ever. The funny thing is that while my “following” counter decreases the quality of the interaction I engage with on twitter is drastically increasing.

    I’m not saying that following less people is the key – carefuly choosing whom to follow and connect with might be.

  • Anonymous

    I refuse to RT people who write in all CAPS, peope who curse, or people who don’t offer balanced tweets overall (value-to-sales ratio). Oh, and I don’t like to RT people who have all those little icons woven in their tweets such as flowers, hearts, stars, etc. Just my personal preferences. Everyone is different. I like this post. :)

  • http://twitter.com/MattBeard Matt Beard

    I’d compare saying “Please RT!” in a tweet to a person who is not only handing me a flyer on the sidewalk but also handing me a stack of their flyers and saying “Hey, hand these out for me!”. Chances are, I don’t want your flyer and and I certainly don’t want to bother anyone else with them. Automatic unfollow.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great analogy! Thanks.

      • http://twitter.com/MattBeard Matt Beard

        You’re welcome.

  • http://familysynergy.wordpress.com JD Eddins

    I agree with 1,5, and 6. I know very few of the people I follow on Twitter. Having said that, I think the criteria is more a fact of your position. You likely have to be more discerning about who and what you choose to RT because you have a much larger audience.
    #3 can go either way. Some people are very focused in their use of Twitter and other forms of social media. Others use it to tell you every thing they have eaten today. If you fall into the later category I expect to say random RTs often. However, if your goal is for me to actually click on a link embedded in the RT, then I need to know that its not going to take me to hte lost reaches of the Internet.

  • Dldillard1

    Dear Michael,
    these are good points for sure. However, please do not be offended, but as others have noted #1 is a little unrealistic. You follow over 90,000 people which means you probably get 1,000,000 tweets a day. There is no way you see even 1% of them. The idea that you will somehow see the interesting ones is a little hard to believe. So, I think it is a bit much to tell those you follow that you will see their tweet if it is interesting.
    And to take that a little further, you are a celebrity. If you worked in the mailroom instead of the CEO’s office you would not have 90,000 followers. You would be DMing famous people asking them to RT your stuff. Movie stars may not like being interrupted for autographs and photos but it is part of the life. I understand you have worked hard & paid your dues to get where you are both in terms of your job and your social media standing (the vast majority of CEOs have not accomplished what you have) but once you get there, please do not be perturbed because people want you to help them achieve their goals. The rest of your reasons are legit and make sense. I have no doubt that feeling like people do not care about you but are just using you to get what they want is not something you want to perpetuate. And you should not feel obligated to. But telling people to stop asking to be RT’d is like telling spammers to stop calling. Unfortunately, it is free (although there is a cost) and it works often enough that they keep doing it.
    thank you,
    Duke Dillard

    • http://twitter.com/ethananderson Ethan Anderson

      In Michael’s defense I would like to say that he doesn’t have to follow back all those people who follow him, but he has chosen to let the conversation be two-way. I respect that very much and I wish more influential leaders (AKA celebrities) would do the same.

      When I go to the Twitter of a big-name leader and see that they have thousands of followers, yet they follow only fifty people, it makes me appreciate the way Michael follows back his followers, even if we know that of course he can’t read our every tweet.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think it is fine to ask me via a DM or a reply to take a look at a post I may have missed. But I think that is very different than asking me to RT something. If the content is interesting, I will RT it on my own without having to ask.

      • Dldillard1

        That makes sense. Thanks for clarifying that.

  • http://twitter.com/ethananderson Ethan Anderson

    I’m fairly new to Twitter but following your advice to connect people to great content has gotten me retweeted by the CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers!

    I’m glad you found the article interesting.

  • http://twitter.com/Kathleen01930 Kathleen01930

    I’m just getting started with this Twitter thing so these are good things to know, thank you. I’ve been blogging for 6 years and have written over a thousand blogs. Every now and then someone will send me something and ask me to put it on my blog. I frequently post things to my blog that are interesting and useful but, generally speaking, if someone asks, it isn’ta good fit for my readers.

    Thank you.

  • http://twitter.com/KLOlund Kyle L. Olund

    I admit that I’ve been guilty of asking for a retweet–maybe even asking you, Mike–but I’ve rarely asked this of people and have only done so when I thought someone would gladly do this favor for me. I also ask because I know how easy it is for followers to miss an important tweet. The greater number of people you follow, the more likely it is that you’ll overlook tweets you may deem worthy of passing along. That’s why I’ve asked in the past, and that’s why I may ask in the future (but only of those who know me). And I’m happy to retweet for others I know, if asked. No hard feelings, though, if a request is denied.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think asking someone to read something is one thing. I do miss things to be sure. I think it is another to ask to re-tweet.

  • http://gracewounds.org Erik_Bennett

    Public fame over heavenly treasure. Maybe thats #7. Which is the person seeking through my reach of influence?

  • http://twitter.com/drbret Bret L Simmons

    With all due respect, Michael, your #2 is silly. Do you think that everyone that retweets your articles knows you? Of course not, but we know the quality of your content because we have followed you over time. You have neither the time nor the opportunity to meet me, but that does not mean you have not earned my recommendation of your content. The material speaks for itself, either it is good or it is not. If it is good, it merits being shared, if it is not, then it does not. Twitter is not Facebook. It is, IMHO, a place to make new friends by recognizing and sharing value. Vetting and recommending the work of others is how I make new connections on Twitter.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear. I am thinking in particular when someone asks me to re-tweet something about some cause. I don’t know if the cause is legitimate or not, because I don’t know the person. I am not talking about content per se.

  • http://twitter.com/michaelhsmith Michael H Smith

    Great points Michael. I can only imagine how many requests you receive a day for ‘re-tweets.’ Thanks for keeping your followers in mind as you ‘weed-out’ unwanted material.

  • http://twitter.com/WorshipTools Worship Tools

    Well this just seems SO narrow minded! Twitter snobbery I say! … btw, would you please retweet this? ;)

  • http://twitter.com/angiemagnino Angie Magnino

    I enjoyed reading this, some great points. I believe that, obviously, people who are more well-known cannot possibly accommodate all the requests they receive. I do have a question for you though… in regards to the tweets being outside of your audience’s narrow topic range, in your opinion, what DOES classify something that deserves to be retweeted? Certainly you have retweeted things outside of these four areas. ;)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      If it is outside of these four areas, it is because I either know the person making the request or am personally interested in the topic.

      • http://twitter.com/angiemagnino Angie Magnino

        Thanks for your response. I respect the fact that with the number of followers you have, you took the time to personally respond (and follow your advice on your Top 10 Blog Mistakes post). :)

  • http://nancemarie.blogspot.com/ nance.marie

    didn’t you know?
    RT means Read before you Tweet.

  • Anonymous

    #1 is a growing pet peeve of mine with Twitter and Facebook (I’ve had people ask me to share with friends). If I like it and I feel it’s relevant to my followers I retweet. Focusing on quality content will get you retweeted.

  • http://twitter.com/ThatGuyKC K.C. Pro

    Thank you for the great reminder on Twitter etiquette. It’s especially helpful for people wanting to leverage social media to launch new content.

    Being mindful of common courtesy, audience and actually producing quality content is key.

  • http://www.ricardobueno.com Ricardo Bueno

    I definitely won’t ReTweet something if I feel that it’s not relevant to my audience. The goal for me is to share things that are “Helpful” first and foremost, so if it doesn’t fit that criteria, it’s a ‘no go’.

    On occasion friends will ask me to share something of their own. If it’s a friend, and I think it’s relevant, no problem. Only problem is sometimes, they don’t leave enough characters for me to easily share which makes it an editting nightmare :-/

  • Robert Clay

    Brilliant, Michael.

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

    Would you do me a favor and place my logo and a permanent link to my website somewhere on your banner? Right below “Intentional Leadership” will be fine, and it doesn’t have to be huge. Thanks.

  • http://uma-maheswaran.blogspot.com/ Uma Maheswaran S

    It’s not a difficult proposition for me. I will retweet only those twitter posts which I find interesting and worthy in my opinion. As simple as that. No place for external influence.

  • http://brandonwjones.wordpress.com/ Brandon W. Jones

    Michael,
    This is a great post. I am still learning the power of twitter, so I will read this closely and keep what you said in mind as I proceed with Twitter. Thanks, Brandon Jones

  • http://www.junkyardwisdom.com Roy

    Well, shoot, there goes my marketing plan….

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    Great list, Mike. One of the big reasons I won’t retweet you, is that I don’t use Twitter much anymore. With all the time constraints on a daily basis, I find I like to communicate by e-mail or Facebook, which don’t restrict my content to 140 characters. My Facebook interface for Android was just updated and it really rocks. While Twitter has its place, I find it very constraining.

  • Theresa Lode

    So THAT’S why you never retweeted my link to Aunt Myrtle’s chocolate chip cookie recipe….
    Just kidding….I’m JUST KIDDING!
    Thanks again for more great info and food for thought. (Speaking of food, I’ve got this great…oh, never mind…)
    Have a great day!

  • http://jhwist.tumblr.com/ Henrik Wist

    Thank you for summing it up nicely. For me, reason number 1 above is the ultimate test. If you have to ask for it, I won’t do it. Since my twitter stream is more of a “personal” thing, I am not so worried about a coherent content for a specific audience, so reason 3 doesn’t really apply. And as for 6): Well, if I want to RT someone, I find ways to do it; but if it is too much effort, then tough luck, no retweet from me.

  • http://www.christopherscottblog.typepad.com/ Christopher Scott

    I refuse to retweet anything that is clearly self-promotional. Sometimes I see people saying “Make lots of money online” or similar stuff that is directly promoting them self and their wallet.

    I only retweet items that are beneficial to my followers and will add value to them.

  • Newlifeben

    Phew! Now my mom won’t have to read my tweets twice! bw

  • http://ineeddiscipline.com Dean Saliba

    Nothing as off-putting than being begged to retweet. I don’t think my followers would care anyway because I’m sure 99% of them are just bots.

  • http://ineeddiscipline.com Dean Saliba

    Nothing as off-putting than being begged to retweet. I don’t think my followers would care anyway because I’m sure 99% of them are just bots.

  • http://twitter.com/NewEnglandHiker Roy Wallen

    Amen. With so much wikieverything, where are the standards for what gets proliferated?

  • http://www.paulylacosta.com Paul L’Acosta

    To tell you the truth Michael, I use RTs in a very awkward way: when I want to help out a fellow tweep with a question or problem that I can’t help or assist with; and as @kylelreed in terms of helping a cause I strongly support. Cheers for a great post! ~Paul

  • http://jeffgoins.myadventures.org Jeff Goins

    Great post, Michael. I have, at times, been guilty of asking. This was very enlightening. I do, however, think that there is a converse side to it — I have seen that Twitter can be a very generosity network where many people will RT you if you simply ask. Of course, it’s a double-edged sword and you don’t want to be known as “that guy” who’s constantly begging for RTs, but I like the symbiotic nature of Twitter.

  • http://twitter.com/joshmbyrd Josh Byrd

    Great post! I think we can all too easily forget the etiquette behind social media is really not that different from the real world. It’s not a new set of social rules, just a tool to communicate using the same socially accepted norms.

  • http://twitter.com/KevinConnell Kevin Connell

    Very interesting, thanks Michael! At times I struggle with the need to use all 140!! Ugh! Thanks for the reminder that simple is better. – Kevin

  • http://twitter.com/KevinConnell Kevin Connell

    Very interesting, thanks Michael! At times I struggle with the need to use all 140!! Ugh! Thanks for the reminder that simple is better. – Kevin

  • Naomidelrio

    Honest and to the point(ala Simon Cowell)….this is what I value about your writing… (this and the fact that one day you retweeted my blog THE PINNACLE OF MY TWITTER EXPERIENCE!! LOL You’re right. It means more if you dont ask.)

  • Jonathan Smith

    Thanks Micheal for not retweeting every request. I am a pastor of a large Canadian church and I follow you blog and tweets to learn about your management practices, leadership learnings and life rhythm. I love the strength, integrity and focus of your platform. The lack of clutter and your laser focus keeps me coming back for more.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Jonathan. I appreciate that.

  • http://twitter.com/lovinglyyoursG Georgiana

    All great reasons and I abide by every one of them myself. People’s time is valuable. To me, it’s most important to retweet those things which will be beneficial in helping others Embrace Positive Passion in their daily lives! :-)

  • http://www.globalcopywriting.com/ globalcopywrite

    Nice post, Michael. I make it a point to never retweet when someone is pandering for new followers – for themselves or others. It’s rare for me to RT just because I’m asked. It sort of gets my back up for some reason. I never, EVER, ask someone to RT something for me. If your content is good, it will be shared.

  • http://twitter.com/BrennanMcCurdy BrennanMcCurdy

    Appreciate the integrity as a follower of not being spammed and honesty. ps can you Retweet this post?

  • http://jennyrain.com JennyRain

    :) If something
    1 – Grabs me at a heart level
    2 – Makes me laugh outloud
    3 – Causes my cheeks to hurt because I’m smiling so big
    4 – Is something I needed to read that day and I want to encourage others…

    I’ll retweet it. Otherwise… not so much

  • Anonymous

    I do not want to RT anything that is salesy. I especially stay away from MLM and similar items. Also, any tweets that promise me lots of followers etc.

    Rob

  • http://www.mediastrut.com J Danielle

    There are sooo many people who need to read this post. I see a lot of bloggers express frustration that people won’t retweet them or people are not “supporting” their work. I often wonder why they don’t step back and ask themselves is their content worth a look.

  • http://twitter.com/MarketingXD MarketingXD

    Excellent points and an original take on the issue.

    I almost always add my own comment, so the shorter the better. Also I try to ration myself to an average 4 tweets per day to avoid flooding listeners. Two of these tweets are for my own blog posts, which leaves 2, so your tweet had better be pretty darn good!

    On the other hand, the only time I’ve asked for retweets has been when there’s a security issue that I think people need to know about, never just for marketing.

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  • Anonymous

    Great article, well written; thank you. I especially like umber 3, keeping that focus can be hard sometimes – but important.

  • http://www.linchpinbloggers.com/ Don McAllister

    Great points. I try to be intentional with my tweets, and share things that interest me and are relevant to my little audience I have. I would think I’d even be more selective in what I share the bigger a following I have. 
    And asking for a RT isn’t necessarily smart either. We should let our work live or die on their own creative merits. 

  • http://findinggodsfingerprints.wordpress.com/ Erica McNeal

    Great post Mike! I like how you say that if you tweet something out that does not fit your narrow audience that it is just noise in their inbox! Great point!

  • TheGreatDanaJ

    I really appreciate how you lay out your reasons. I find myself coming into this same dilemma working in social media. I’ve received all kinds of requests to RT. I will think on your guidelines before making that choice. 

  • Michael

    I respect you and appreciate most of your posts, but this has to be one of the most arrogant and condescending blog posts I’ve ever read.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Wow. Sorry to hear that. Thanks.

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  • http://thechurchinthemirror.wordpress.com/ ScottPhillips68

    I agree.  Write something worthwhile and people will want to re-tweet it.

  • scubadivemike

    To me retweeting is a bit lazy. It eliminates that all important relevancy check that is the most important thing for everyone’s followers. Without that, twitter just becomes a huge tsunami of questionable information.

  • Tweet this

    Who the hell are you anyway Michael Hyatt? I don’t disagree with a word you said but you act like a god because you have Twitter followers. What happens when Twitter finally gets recognized for the stupid pointless waste of time that it is and you have to go to the next platform where everyone starts at ground zero again and you have to start begging others to add you as a friend or repost your content or whatever the catch of the site will be. Twitter has been popular for what 2 years? Do you really think it is the crowning achievement of human civilization and we’ve now arrived? I sure hope not personally because it’s a sad thing to hang your hat on. Nevertheless, nobody ever got a tombstone epitaph that highlighted their lifetime accomplishment as being a Twitter god. You may want to re evaluate your life’s goals.

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  • Brooks

    What annoys me is that some twits on Twitter ask celebrities not only to retweet them but to ‘follow’ them. 

  • harrisonwilder

    I always appreciate your posts and feel like I learn about how to handle the amount of traffic someone in your position must receive. Thanks for the tips. Hoping to need them someday!

  • http://darkangelights2009.tumblr.com/ darkangelights

    I only care about music artist that i love not retweeting me or replying to me i begged Jonathan Davis of Korn to reply to me and i used his song lyrics to tell him how i felt and it got me this  https://twitter.com/JDEVIL33/status/262321683673776129

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  • Beau

    Tweets that don’t speak to my blog following or writing focus. But I don’t care if I know someone or not if they notify me of something good!

  • K Adekoya

    I don’t know you from adam, but your ‘6 reasons why you don’t retweet’, caught my attention. Firstly. you need to get over yourself, you know the saying, pride comes before a fall. Secondly, there is a saying; “YOU SHOULD BE NICE TO PEOPLE ON YOUR WAY UP, YOU MIGHT NEED THEM ON YOUR WAY DOWN.” 

  • Jeanie Hackett

    Terrific. Thanks for reminding us. I’m also turned off from anyone whose profile says “Follow me & I’ll follow you back!” That’s not the kind of followers I want.

  • Caroline Holmes

    Agreed! I think I always use most of the 140 characters and never leave room… between you and http://cahootsblog.com/2013/05/08/top-10-reasons-you-dont-get-retweeted/ I think I’ve got it figured out now thanks. At least I never ask to be retweeted…

  • cathcartboy

    Charity requests, follower build-up requests. Without seeing your tweet I actually do much of what you do as a matter of etiquette

  • cathcartboy

    Separate point. Does Hootsuite let me Direct Message from an iPad? If not what software does, please? Many thanks.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Yes, it does.

  • JoseASaldanaJr

    It’s amazing to see the influence Twitter has in regards to social capital. This makes retweets something like what handing someone a demo cd to a famous artist or producer used to be or a script to an actor or director. In one’s imagination being retweeted is the one big shot of a lifetime to launch yourself into the mainstream. Even at the minute level I was working in the music industry years ago, I had no time to listen to the endless stream of demos I was given. Not only that but if I am going to give a recommendation of this content to someone else it has the potential to hurt my credibility. The bottom line is never vouch for someone via retweet if you’re not willing to set your name and reputation behind the content.

  • http://www.cashcarconvert.com/ James Kinson

    Wow, I can’t imagine asking someone I don’t know to retweet me just because of who they are. You have built too much trust with your followers to just retweet something because you were asked to do so. You have earned your following by consistently creating great content; let others earn theirs the same way. Thanks for the insight into your world!

  • Melody A Olson

    #1 says it all.

  • Amy Endler

    Excellent boundaries. I’ve never asked anyone to “RT” me. I think it’s rude.

  • arifgan

    Nice post. This is becoming commonplace and I believe it comes from a misunderstanding of how to utilize twitter as a platform. The root of this behavior in very similar to the company that opens a twitter account and instantly posts a coupon code. They’ve asked for the sale before creating trust or value.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com/ Michael Hyatt

      Exactly.

  • Frenetta Tate

    Michael, you always have interesting topics. Thank you for this post. I agree with you. I am always thinking about branding. I am respectful of my followers. I think about them. So, I will not Retweet something that is a big disconnect. If it doesn’t connect with me or is something my followers would not ‘expect’ and ‘anticipate’, I won’t retweet it. I think once they read this post, Michael, they may just have an Aha! moment ;-)

  • http://DesireeMMondesir.com/ Desiree M. Mondesir

    This is certainly one of the cardinal sins of Twitter. It’s right there under “screaming” “Follow Back.” Should you ask me 70 times seven times to “follow back” (or “retweet”), then I will absolutely not.

  • Melinda Todd

    SO many reasons! And you listed the most relevant ones. I also unfollow folks who send me a DM to read their book as soon as I follow them or read their blog. I also don’t retweet stuff if I go and check out their Twitter page and see that they swear and act awful towards other people, I don’t care if what they had to say was momentarily good.

  • http://daniellyle.com/ Daniel Lyle

    wow… that was a little harsh.