Retweets Welcome

Thumbs upMitch Joel says ““I’ll tweet that” is the ultimate insult.” 

The gist of Mitch’s argument is that “tweeting” takes almost zero effort – you push a few buttons, hit enter and it’s done. A few months back, people would perhaps write a blog post about what you said, which took much more commitment and could potentially drive lots of traffic over time.

He also notes that only a small proportion of users are on Twitter at any one time. For the others, “…odds are that piece of content will become nothing more than road kill on the information superhighway.”

This leads Mitch to conclude that tweeting about someone’s content is “almost a cop-out” and to wonder if someone tweeting about you is “the ultimate insult.”

Re-tweeting is a compliment

I disagree with Mitch’s perspective for four key reasons:

  • You may not have something useful to add to that excellent post you’ve just written. I think there’s little use in blogging about a topic without adding value.
  • One of Twitter’s greatest strengths (and issues) is that Twitter exponentially increases the volume of information to which you’re exposed. Blogging takes a long time. I wrote down five topics today alone that I want to write about. Most of those will never see the light of day, because tomorrow I’ll think of or read another five things. As much as I like your content, I don’t have time to write about everything. You’re probably in the same situation. 
  • The argument that “a tweet does drive traffic, but it’s nothing like a Blog post or a position on a Blogroll” implies by extension that comments also have little value, as they only reach the people who are already on your site. However, I value comments highly, as I know most people, including Mitch, do too.
  • Posting on Twitter about something still requires you to put your name next to it. I may not have written the post, but by tweeting about it I’m saying I agree with it. To me, that’s worth something.

If someone tweets about something I’ve written, I’m delighted. Presumably they’ve read it and they’ve enjoyed it, or it made them think. That alone makes me happy. The fact that they want to tell others is even better.

I get the difference in commitment. I get that tweeting about something takes less effort than a blog post, and has less long-term impact than a blogroll.

I still appreciate it.

The value you put on different forms of interaction will vary by personal. What’s your perspective?

Update: Mitch has commented below and updated his post. I’ll wait while you read it… ok,? So, what do you think?

I’ve disagreed with Mitch on a couple of things recently. I suspect that’s because I consume more of his content than that of almost anyone else – on his blog, on Six Pixels of Separation and on Media Hacks. Mitch rocks. If you haven’t already done so, I suggest you subscribe to all three. 

Dave Fleet
EVP Digital at Edelman. Husband and dad of two. Cycling nut; bookworm; videogamer; Britnadian. Opinions are mine, not my employer's.