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Are There Other Twitter Re-Tweeting Rules To Follow?

Posted by on May 4, 2011

As some of you know, I participate most of the time on a weekly Twitter chat on Wednesdays called Community Manager. It’s pretty neat sometimes, and today it was on the topic of blogging communities, something I like to talk about often.

Days ago I asked people if they comment on blogs they share via Twitter. It’s gotten a lively discussion and has even sparked conversation on other blogs. Well, something else came up today that begs the question as to whether people should ever be retweeting content that goes on through a Twitter Chat.

Actually, this came from someone who wasn’t even part of the chat. As I’d mentioned in the original post on chats, some folks don’t really like it when a group of people take up an hour or two for these chat sessions. I debated with myself how I felt and decided that I wanted to participate and that pretty much is that.

His gripe was that because each chat already has hashtags, which means everyone who’s participating is already into the chat, that there’s no reason for anyone to retweet anything while in the chat. His two points were these:

1) Followers (who aren’t chatting) see tweets out of context, becomes blather
2) It’s redundant to people who ARE following chat

Of course we debated this for a bit, and he included someone else in his diatribe who didn’t appreciate it and said she was going to do things her way and that he could just unfollow her if he wanted to. I’m going a different way; he’s a good guy, so I’m going to state my point of view here.

To his first point, he may or may not be correct. Let’s talk about blather for a minute. When a study was done a couple of years ago, it considered these categories:

News, Spam, Self-Promotion, Conversational, Pass-Along Value, Pointless Babble

The “pointless babble” part was the only piece considered as blather; it accounted for 40% overall. Babble was defined as “These are the “I am eating a sandwich now” tweets.” Not very scientific but it fits for now. If one is in a chat and one happens to RT something that found profound enough that someone else said, is that considered babble by the definition of the study? Nope. Does it matter whether someone is in the chat or not? Nope.

Is it irritating? Well, on that front it might be. I see these things all the time, chat or no chat. However, I also share a lot of things. In this particular chat I was guilty of at least one official retweet, and some messages where I selected retweet so I could respond to a group of people all at once and forgot to remove the RT in front of the message; oops. But the retweet I did I felt was so profound that I wanted other people following me, friends of mine, to see it whether they were on the chat or not. I tend to do that with RT’s in general, and this was no different in my mind.

Now let’s look at his point #2. Is it redundant to people in the chat? Could be, but also might not be. This is a very active chat. Last week in an hour there were almost 700 messages. Today’s topic was “blogging and community management”, something I know a lot about obviously. I posted a couple of thoughts, and the next thing you know I’m getting all sorts of people writing me directly. I won’t say it was overwhelming, but it was comprehensive. To a degree, I couldn’t keep up with every single message in the chat while also responding to everyone that was writing me directly. So, often I caught a retweet hashtag instead. Redundant for some readers? Absolutely. Redundant for me? On a day like today, not even close. On other days when I say almost nothing; yeah, I’d have to agree.

My overall conclusion? It’s actually the same thought I had when I first talked about chats. Some people aren’t going to like it at all. Some people aren’t going to like aspects of it. It’s like the PC/Mac argument. Based on how I use it will I stop doing it my way. Nope, ain’t happening. Based on how others use it will I stop participating or get upset about it? No, because then I’d be a hypocrite, and I’m certainly not that. When I get irritated by a behavior I either drop someone or I move them into another bucket. But I can take it for an hour, so I have no issues at all.

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10 Comments »

Kelly:

Mitch,
I love it when #CMGRchat inspires blog posts! But seriously, I did not say that the person in Q should just ‘unfollow me’, I purposely did not say that. He knows what his options are. What I did say was that he could filter me out if he wished, which apparently some people do because chats annoy them.
I personally don’t see what the issue is. I follow 1800+ people, for a variety of reasons. I don’t even pretend to read all of their tweets. Many of those 1800 people participate in chats; it’s what we do. Sometimes, the chats are huge & I see lots of tweets from them. Does this bother me? No. As I have said before, we create our own communities on twitter. YOU get to choose who your neighbors are. You also get to evict them if they do something you dont like. But unlike a landlord, I don’t get to tell people what they can or cannot tweet…because they are also the head of a community, and THEY get to decide what happens within that community. I have people follow me & unfollow me all the time. It’s like trying on a pair of shoes; maybe they fit for a while, but then they start to hurt your feet. I wouldn’t wear shoes that hurt my feet and then yell at the shoes, I would just stop wearing them. See my point?
The great thing about twitter, why it is such a vibrant community, is because it is so democratic. We’re all equal on twitter – we get to set our own rules – I can tweet what & when I want – and so can you. Twitter allows each of us to get out of it what we want…we just don’t get to dictate what other people can get out of it.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

May 4th, 2011 | 8:39 PM
Mitch Mitchell:

Great stuff, Kelly, and I’m sorry I kind of misstated what you said; that’s kind of how I took it, as I wasn’t directly quoting you, though I did directly quote him.

On this blog I give my opinions about many things. I’ve written a lot of opinion posts about Twitter, things I like, things I don’t like. Some people agree with me, some don’t (okay, that’s rare, but then these are my peeps lol). You’re right, we all get to set our own rules, and that’s great. I’m not sure if I’ve ever called anyone out specifically on Twitter because of something they do other than being a racist or misogynist; you know how I roll on those topics. When someone starts irritating me I adjust how I follow them, if I do. You used the shoes analogy, I’ll use TV as mine. We can always turn the channel to something we like and turn off stuff we don’t like.

And I do try to be fair, so I can honestly see some of his points. I probably disagree with most of it, but I understand it. Glad to have you stop by.

May 4th, 2011 | 9:02 PM

There are always possibilities that people may not like something. Sometimes Twitter users lose interest about Twitter and followers are inactive. I was too active on Twitter before, honestly I think I was spending too much time and getting very social, but loosing precious time related to my work.

May 5th, 2011 | 6:35 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Carl, I can honestly say I don’t spend too much time on it, but I am connected to it throughout the day when I’m home just in case I hear a notification that someone has written me directly from there.

May 5th, 2011 | 11:29 AM
Patricia:

Hi Mitch

I enjoy the interaction on twitter but I understand when people see their twitter stream filled up with some of these chats. Doesn’t bother me and they can always unfollow people or work on something else while the chat is on.

There are much more serious things going on in the world to think about than this I reckon. Maybe they should come visit my blog, smell the lovely lavenders and relax 😉

Patricia Perth Australia

May 5th, 2011 | 9:41 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

Pat, we all could certainly use more relaxation and calming, that’s for sure. 🙂 And you’re right, there are easily more crucial things to fret about.

May 5th, 2011 | 11:30 AM

Hi, I love the article. Actually i have been messing around with my twitter, as my facebook is also linked with it so i ended up filling my whole wall with random tweets. But now i use only direct tweets to be shown on facebook. Also now i just dont retweet anything

May 6th, 2011 | 4:19 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

When FB & Twitter first connected there were a lot of people doing that. Some people actually created blogs that were only tweets and retweets; what a waste.

May 6th, 2011 | 9:12 AM
intel_chris:

I don’t often participate in chats. However, I do read a few, with the express purpose of pulling comments out of them to RT. Yes, people who are deeply interested in the topic can read the chat #hashtag, but some comments from a chat deserve a much wider audience. The purpose of an RT is to selectively distill all the interesting stuff one reads into a few salient points for one’s followers. If you do a good job of that, people won’t object. If you are retweeting a log of the entire chat, everyone will object.

May 7th, 2011 | 3:08 AM
Mitch Mitchell:

That’s my thought Chris, though it turns out there are some folks that just don’t like the process at all.

May 7th, 2011 | 11:03 AM