Why do I Retweet?
Sometimes, I retweet to bookmark things I like. Sometimes, I retweet to establish that I am interested in a topic. And sometimes, I retweet to pass along something I find interesting to people who may not have seen the original tweet. But truth be told, RT is my way of connecting, not to the people who follow me, but to the people whom I follow. My RT says to them, “I like this, I agree with this and I think this is useful.”
Now, retweeting is not the only way I can express myself on twitter. I can favorite the tweet or @reply to the person writing the twitter. However, the best way to complement them, or to thank them seems to be to spread their notions along – as an RT. I have wondered if we should have ways to say “I agree” , “I bookmark this”, “This is hilarious” etc., but I always come back to this: there is an elegance to having a single currency. A currency that is tied to the very essence of the medium. If I like the message, I help spread it.
Lets take a minute to look at the people who follow me. For the most part they fall into these groups:
- Real People at my work place (we use twitter as SMS / watering hole for design related topics)
- Real People who used to be co-workers (so nice to find them at the same watering hole again)
- Real people I know, who are not designers, but may be interested in design
- People/Firms/Magazines in design whom I do not know personally
- Marketeers who are following me because I once said the word possum (say)
- A ten headed demon (one is plenty)
The people I follow are design people, sources of humor, and a few news sources and news makers. Essentially, twitter is the place I come to read the news and the funny papers, and to hang out with my design-peeps. When I read something they say that I find neat, I high five them by RT ing what they said. Sure, it is likely that people who follow me may find these links interesting, but my main motivation seems to be directed towards the source of information. “Great”, I seem to want to tell them. “Nice Job”. RT.
Retweeting also apparently marks me as not being a leader. This recent finding underscores my intuitive notions about how a time line with many RTs may be perceived. However, my attitude still remains: - RT. FTW.
OK. Some other facts about my twitter audience:
- I have exactly one engineer following me.
- I have a few heavyweights – famous people, people who are my boss, other people who in my eyes are heavy weights
- there are some people who follow me, that I know really nothing about.
I wish twitter would give me a UI where it would map my private lists on to a theater seating plan. To help me remember who I am talking to. Now, notice how I tied back to the funny image at the top of the article? Bam!