I love Twitter. And I’m big on proper manners. With that said, I am focusing my fourth Twitter tips post on the constant thanking of people on Twitter. In my opinion, our good manners have gone too far, and we all suffer for it.
Not sure what I’m talking about? When I log onto Twitter lately, this is what I see:
Thanks to @____, @_____, @______ for the follows!
Grateful for RTs from @ ______, @______, @_______!
Hugs for blog visits and comments @_____, @_____, @______!
Right back at you for the #FF @____, @_____, @______, @_____!
Looks like a whole lot of nothing, doesn’t it? Call me a cynic, but seeing those messages as regular tweets rather than @replies where your entire following wouldn’t have to see them strikes me as suspiciously self-serving. (If you don’t know the difference between a regular tweet and an @reply, I explain it here.) If the goal of your tweet is to thank the people you’re listing, then why do ALL of your followers need to see it? Written as I’ve shown above, I can’t help but “hear” the following rather than thanks: Read my blog! RT me! Congratulate me! Me, Me, Me.
Expressing our gratitude as @replies helps our crisis a bit, but we’re still spending tremendous amounts of time thanking people and reading about other people getting thanked, which gets at the deeper issue. How much thanking is necessary on Twitter in the first place? Where is the line between appreciation and absolute overkill? Can we come to an agreement on how to demonstrate our gratitude?
LET’S ANALYZE EACH AREA OF CONCERN:
Thanking New Followers: This one is easy. If you follow the person back, that’s an inherent “thank you.” If you don’t follow the person back, I don’t think writing “thanks for the follow @_____” does much to compensate. Follow back (if you want to) OR leave well enough alone. Side note: NO MATTER WHAT, do NOT write direct messages thanking people for the follow. A private message saying: “Thanks for the follow. Check out my [novel, blog, tweets]” is an excellent example of disingenuous gratitude. When you truly interact with people on Twitter through their tweets, they WILL likely check out your tweets, blog, etc.
Thanking for ReTweets: I propose this: If you and other Tweeters regularly RT each other, then perhaps you can save yourselves some time and NOT thank each other on top of it all. The back and forth RTing, no matter how intermittent, serves as a more useful, “thank you” than a “thank you” tweet. As for thanking in general for RTs, I urge people to wait until the end of the day or the next day, then write one or two tweets (as an @reply) listing those thank yous.
Thanking people for congratulating you, for coming to your event, for helping to promote you in any way: Reread last sentence of the RT category. That advice applies here too.
Thanking for #FF or any other list inclusion: I saved the most complicated one for last. Whether or not to write #FFs (Follow Friday) is a separate issue. Personally, I believe the practice has lost its usefulness. Unless you compose witty and gracious ones to individual people then those tweets read like this: “Blah, Blah, Blah.” (Cue voice of Charlie Brown’s teacher.) I have a few followers who include me in weekly #FFs, but don’t interact with me AT ALL the rest of the time. I’m 99% sure they see none of my tweets and their #FFs are automated. Frankly, I resent having to spend even a second seeing those automated tweets in my @mention page.
If you’re going to thank someone for the #FF, do not RT the whole list. I’m begging you. Re-sending those long lists of random names clogs up the Twitter stream, forcing many of your followers to see the same tweets over and over. Many times you’re not even following everyone on that list, which only makes the entire #FF concept that much more pointless.
So group, what do you think? Am I the only one who’s tired of their Twitter feed looking like gobbly-gook? Gratitude is good. What I’m seeing on Twitter these days is too much of a good thing. And it’s really annoying.