Nature of Retweets

One of the great things about Twitter is it’s asynchronous. You don’t have to follow all the people who follow you. Indeed, you seek out people you want to follow – be it for entertainment, information, your friends, people smarter than you, people you want to spy on – it’s all opt in.

The downside of this is often you concentrate more on who you’re following than who are following you.

People use Twitter in lots of different ways, some use it as an honest stream of consciousness, some to talk to celebrities, some to position themselves.

In the media world, I think the latter is usually the most used. I know it’s how I use it. Whether it’s talking about things that (I think) make me look bright, highlighting things I think are interesting or important or just showing, hey, that i’m funny guy!

Retweets are a good way to achieve these aims as well, letting you bask in someone else’s skill and humour. It’s also a great way to provide evidence reinforcing your own views from third parties. It helps your opinion become more trusted amongst your followers.

It’s important to remember though, that it is just your followers. They are a self-selecting group of people who choose to hear from you because of what you say.

There’s lots of tweets in my timeline at the moment from radio people re-tweeting messages from listeners about their station or particular station events. I generally don’t mind this. It often helps me learn about what station’s are up to. However, repeating similar messages over and over again just become spam.

I know, often, that they’re proud of what their stations are achieving, but personal twitter accounts especially with small (sub 1k) follower numbers isn’t the place to do it.

I know I can opt-out of a user’s retweets, or stop following, but it’s such a shame, when their messages or other retweets are good to read.

I’m still in two minds whether some of these tweets could actually be valuable on main station accounts. Generally it’s P1’s who become followers of main accounts, but even then if these listeners are tuning in for a few hours a day they might not be as across your programming as you would think.

I think if you’re plugging brand extensions, using the right number of retweets of listener appreciation is probably a great way to help build awareness and perception. For big station events it shows that people like you are enjoying the same thing and helps amplify your activity. It’s also more likely to help you with your hours.

However, if you keep telling me, over and over again, it’s unlikely to materially affect your hours and the only brand value it’s going to reinforce is that you care little about your followers.