Mind Your MeTweets

You know how when someone compliments you, the first thing you do is e-mail everyone you know to tell them about the compliment?

No, you probably don’t, because you have the good sense not to do something like that.

Why then do so many people feel no shame in rampantly retweeting compliments they receive on Twitter? Some examples, with names changed to protect the guilty:

“RT @joesmith I just heard the most wonderful speech from @lisafrench. That girl is a genius.” (retweeted by @lisafrench)

“RT @fred24 Just saw @jasongotham’s redesign. So good. So jealous!” (retweeted by @jasongotham)

“RT @cakester Scrummify’s sign-up process is a thing of beauty.” (retweeted by @scrummify or an employee of Scrummify)

Let’s count the number of things wrong with this practice:

  1. In real life, it’s considered impolite to brag. Unless you are authoring an anonymous satirical account on Twitter, this is your real life.
  2. If your intent is to spread a compliment your product received, you’re spreading it to people who are already believers, or at the very least, already aware of your product. You want other people to spread it. Oh wait, they already are.
  3. You’re filling your followers’ Twitter feeds not with your own thoughts, but with other people’s thoughts… thoughts about you. The practice of retweeting insults about you on Twitter can also be controversial, but that’s a different beast altogether; one that aims to dismantle trollery by elevating it ironically.

I know many people view Twitter as a medium that can be used by anyone in any manner they see fit — without regard to how other people use it or how other people think it should be used — but I’m not really talking about Twitter here. I’m talking about basic manners. Your mom taught you them when you were young. They haven’t changed that much.

Try not to forget them.