Twitter: When “Thank You” Really Means “I’m Great”

Twitter: When “Thank You” Really Means “I’m Great”

My mother taught me to always say “thank you.”

So it’s hard for me to say, “Don’t say ‘thank you’.”  (Sorry Mom!)


And sorry to all you tweeters who thank everybody for retweeting your stuff.  Much of the time, you’re being polite; and if you’re being sincere and genuine, I’m not targeting your good graces.

But the cynic in me thinks that “Thank you” has really become a way of saying, “Look how great I am,” especially on Twitter.

Why I Follow

I follow some people because they’re prominent, maybe even famous.  After a while, I determine for myself if their tweets are relevant and insightful, and then I’ll put them in a list.  What’s my “list criterion”?  These better tweeters frequently post insightful stuff or provide links to good material, sometimes their own, often that of others.

Other people I list because they’ve somehow caught my eye.  Maybe they’ve been retweeted by somebody I’m following, or maybe they’ve retweeted somebody I’m following, or… you get my point.

Consistent with the more prominent people I follow above, I put these these mere mortals in a list once I see that they consistently tweet good phrases, good links, good stuff.

Remember Best Practices?

One of the best practices you hear repeatedly about social media in general and Twitter specifically is, don’t be overly self-promotional.

So I have to admit, the cynical side of me comes to the surface when I see tweets along the lines of

  • “Thanks for RT @Dasher @Dancer @Prancer @Vixen. Go @Comet @Cupid @Donner @Blitzen.”

Look, if you’re Chris Brogan and you tweet “Thanks @JackVincent,” I admit, I’m over-the-moon happy.  In fact, he did @JackVincent once, and my blog traffic went through the roof.  He didn’t thank me and five other people in the same tweet, either.  It was in reference to something specific.  It was genuine.  And he’s a prominent guy.  Thanks, Chris.  (You reading, Mom?)

But let’s say you’re Bennie the Basic Blogger, and I RT something of yours.  Thanking me is nice.  Thanking me and five other people in the same tweet?  Spare me the gratitude.

My humble opinion is you’re being self-grandizing.  I feel… used.

Admit it.  Come on, admit it… we all like more traffic.  But thanking me somewhere between @Dancer @Prancer isn’t going to get me a single RT… not a single click-through to my blog.  Meanwhile, you look… self-promotional.  You look… like you’re accepting an Oscar.

“I’d like to thank my agent, my publicist, my friends in high places…”

Now a good way for you to defend yourself from my assault is to write me off as being an ungrateful bastard.  This gets you off the hook.  But are you building relationships?

What You Could Do

You could search for a thread of truth in what I’m writing.  You could think that maybe I’m not the Solo Cynic out here.  And you could do what I’ve been doing more and more lately.  Most tweeters like it.  None dislike it.

If you RT something of mine, I’ll usually scroll through your timeline and RT something of yours — of course, something that’s relevant to Brand Me, to my messaging.  If I can’t find anything, then I’ll thank you… individually.

“Whoa, this Vincent guy is crazy.  He’s going to invest all that time.  Ha!”

That’s right.  I’m not using social media as a disruptive advertising page.  I’m using social media for initiating relationships and engaging.  Relationships take time.

Isn’t the purpose of social media… to engage?

– What do you think?
– Am I an ingrate?
– Am I just trying to accomplish the same thing but through different tools?
– What are you doing on Twitter to initiate relationships?


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