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.

  • 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.