Rants N Raves: Thank you? No, Thank YOU!

2784347432_52d67d0c8fI was raised to use good manners; to always remember to say please and thank you. But when someone says “thank you” for a retweet, it always strikes me as a bit odd. I understand that it is a way to be polite, and perhaps even to acknowledge appreciation that the message is being passed along, but really, shouldn’t I be the one saying thank you? After all, the original tweet offered me value; that is why I decided to pass it along.

I do not retweet as a favor to the author of the original tweet. The RT is directed at my network. I respect the time and attention of my network and when I read a tweet that teaches me something, or provides an interesting perspective, I am eager to pass along the “gift.”

My Twitter network includes a wide array of folks in the public relations industry. Some are well established practitioners whose advice and knowledge is highly regarded throughout the industry. Others are students or entry level employees. But Twitter levels the playing field, providing everyone 140 characters to make an impression, to create that “gift.”

Rebecca Denison (@RebeccaDenison) is one PR intern who has become an extremely valued member of my Twitter network. Rebecca is currently an intern at StrategyOne and author of the clever “Dr. WHAW” (Didn’t Read While Hard at Work) blog. Rebecca’s enthusiasm for social media and for embracing new experiences comes across clearly in her tweets and it has been fun to watch her start her blog, attend her first tweetup etc. I enjoy following Rebecca and I learn from her fresh perspective.

Yet when I retweet Rebecca she’ll send me a DM that leaves me shaking my head. With her permission, I’ll share, “Thank you so much for all of your support! It always floors me when I see your Tweets!! Really means a lot, thank you. : )”

I would like to say to Rebecca (and others), know that I am tweeting about something you wrote, because it is smart and because you consistently demonstrate your professionalism and talent. Don’t be “floored.” I am the one who is floored and I should be the one saying thank you. You are doing an excellent job of building your brand, your reputation. While I know that people will continue to say “thank you” for a retweet (and yes, I get it), Most of the time, I would personally feel more comfortable with a “you’re welcome”!

I recently read a quote from Kevin Richard on Danny Brown’s blog. “You should wow your customers and let them do the talking.”  When you “wow” people they talk. It’s what happens. Don’t be surprised. And please do keep that in mind as you continue your path to a very successful career in the field of public relations.

Do you say thank you when someone RT’s your tweet? Is your inspiration/motivation for Retweeting based upon the original author or your network?

valeriesimonValerie Merahn Simon serves as a Senior Vice President at BurrellesLuce media monitoring and measurement, and writes a national public relations column for examiner.com. She is also co-founder and host of #PRStudChat, a monthly twitter chat between PR professionals and students moderated by Deirdre Breakenridge. She can be found on Twitter or LinkedIn. This is Valerie’s first (public) rant .

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44 comments on “Rants N Raves: Thank you? No, Thank YOU!

  1. Excellent issue to address…I used to think I had to thank for every RT, until someone told me I was spamming my other readers. I RT sparingly and I do it, not because I am sucking up to the author, but because what they are saying is valuable information that I am thankful for and want to share with others.

  2. Valerie,

    Great points here. I must say that I usually do thank people when they RT me. I never thought about RTs in the way you discuss until now, and your points are excellent – and you’re right.

    It’s nice to see your points illustrated with a real example – that of Rebecca. Great that she was comfortable with you talking about it!

    On another note, what about the people who RT the RTs that someone else did of their tweet? Ah! 🙂


  3. PR Cog says:

    Fantastic Rant — I wasn’t sure you’d have it in you Valerie 🙂

    I am guilty of the RT TYs — taking the customer analogy further — businesses frequently thank their own customers for referrals of new business (sometimes monetarily through discounts, etc.).

    Tho I can how that could become annoying. I may try ‘You’re Welcome’ tho I suspect I’ll get at least one comment about getting off my high horse. It’ll be fun to say the least.

    Great seeing you over at everyone’s blog…it’s like a holiday party circuit where everyone knows everyone and gets together every few days to have fun 🙂

  4. Ken Brand says:

    I see your points and they’re valid. For me, I try to say “thank you”, because to me it’s a compliment that someone thinks what you’ve shared is worth sharing.


  5. Tom O'Keefe says:

    Good post, Valerie. It always annoys me when people tweet a thank you to a long list of people for Retweeting them. I always appreciate a thank you, and it goes a long way, but it is slightly unnecessary. A DM is usually in order.

    I usually only thank someone for Retweeting my own writing or blog post, so, when someone like Lauren Fernandez (@CubanaLAF) thanks me for tweeting one of her blog posts, I completely understand and appreciate it. It’s mostly the long lists of thank you’s that get a bit old.

    Thanks for a great rant and some very good points!

    Tom O’Keefe

  6. I am guilty as charged. I am and have always been over polite! Like others have stated, I think of it more like thanking the person for a business referral. By RTing my Tweet, they are in essence exposing me to their followers — people I might not otherwise have been “introduced” to. And I appreciate that!

    Still, I admit I have never really thought about it being annoying or spamming to anyone. I may need to use my Thank Yous more sparingly in the future.

    Thanks for the great post.

    Darn it.

    This may be harder than I thought.

  7. Since my primary objective for using Twitter is to broaden the distribution of my blog and its content, retweets are an important sign that what I’m saying and the content I provide is valuable to others. We are all busy, most of my followers are not media professionals, and even I sometimes miss good stuff. So, it does “floor me” and flatter me and gratify me when someone thinks what I’ve said or written is valuable to others. I’ve gotten over the habit of retweeting everyone publicly, and some have said don’t worry about it because they are regular re-distributors of my Tweets and blog content. But I still see new people, folks who are not even following me yet (and vice versa) retweeting my comments because they’ve caught them via others or via a keyword search. For taking the time to redistribute my content, they get a personal message. Sometimes it’s a DM and sometimes it’s in the public timeline. Depends on whether I want to say something personal to them or something that I want others to see and take notice of so they can decide whether to follow them. But new re-tweeters of my content always get a note of thanks and hello. I’ve met some really neat people that way. And I thanks to Twitter for that.

  8. Augie Ray wrote about this recently, got me thinking about RT etiquette. I usually send a DM, or just one group Thanks as professional courtesy.

    Your point about offering value is well-made; I RT others often and it’s because there are so many smart people out here sharing great ideas. I’m happy to pass along their words of wisdom. They’ve no need to thank me, but if they do, it’s appreciated (and they are welcome).

  9. Really appreciate hearing the comments! Ken, very true. And since I wrote this post, I have noticed how often I feel the need to say thank you for RT’s, particularly if it is something I wrote, or have a personal commitment to. There’s nothing wrong with saying thank you and I told Arik that if no one else had an opinion on this, I could probably argue back and forth with myself! I did want to let the many intelligent and kind people like Rebecca, know how much I appreciate their tweets and that I do consider them a gift. I suppose my RT is a bit of a thank you to them, as well as a gift to my network.

  10. Lorrie says:

    Great topic, and one that I read something about recently. It seems the other blog post I read about this said NOT to thank people publicly for RT’s, because it just comes across as a lame attempt at telling everyone, “Hey! Look at me! I’m getting accolades! PLEASE NOTICE!!!” I think a DM thank you is a nice, but probably unnecessary touch, as I think you have proven in your writing above. Personally, I’m quietly appreciative when someone RT’s something I’ve posted and it helps guide what I choose to post in the future.

  11. KathyCash says:

    Your first “public rant” – I love it! I try to make a point to thank people for RT’s most of the time, but usually as a DM. Especially if it is someone that is new to me. I know I always appreciate it when someone thanks me…even if they don’t “have to.” Nothing like using Twitter to spread the kindness, I say. (Nice rant!)

  12. Valerie, echoing @PRCog, nice rant that’s a little out of where you normally write (which is good!). As for myself, I typically will not send a thank you tweet to someone for just retweeting an article or random thought/insight I have. That’s more of one of those things where I was just adding value to my online community, and the extended community of others, and for that, like a business, I consider it a personal joy to add some value.

    When someone retweets a blog post of mine, or if they add their own comment to one of my tweets, then I usually will send a quick tweet of thanks or a DM thanking them, because there, I think they have added value or taken a great deal of time to consider what I have written. And much like a business, I greatly appreciate that, as it builds upon itself and helps to create an even better and more lively online community, not just for me, but for those whom I associate myself with.

  13. Keith- very good points! And I will give you that the thanks for your time, consideration and feedback is most appropriate. But I have to admit, you are were one of my inspirations for this rant! So feel free to say “Your Welcome” the next time I RT one of your posts… if characters allow, I’d add a sincere thank you when I share your tweet!

  14. As Tom said, I’m guilty of thanking people for RT’ing my blog post. The reason I do it is because I find as much value in my community as they do in RT’ing my post – but I definitely see where you are coming from. I still write hand written thank you notes to anyone and everyone, so I might be in the minority. 🙂

    I really liked this post Val!

  15. Gail Nelson says:

    Thanks for this post, Val. I’ve been uncertain of RT etiquette and appreciate this discussion.

    I too was raised to say “thank you” all the time -to the store clerk, the train conductor, and the toll collector. I’m one of those people who apologize to people who bump into me. Anyway,I’ve been thanking everyone for all types of RTs and quite possibly annoying lots of people!

    Reading through your post and the many comments from experienced Twitterers, I have come up with a plan: I am still going to thank everyone (no teaching an old dog too many new tricks!) but if it’s not my content, I’ll send a DM. And I will no longer send a round-up thank you tweet to a list at the end of the day.

    BTW – I agree with Kathy Cash … it’s always nice to be thanked, too. And Val, knowing you as I do, I am not surprised at the gentle nature of your rant. 🙂

  16. Danny Brown says:

    I think it comes down to personal comfort. You know yourself at what level a thank you should be sent. I try and always thank someone that RT’s me if they’re “new” to my radar. In other words, I think the people I tweet with regularly know I appreciate their RT’s (hopefully they do!), so thanks may not be completely necessary.

    But for someone whose name I see pop up that I may not have interacted with yet, I will definitely try and thank them so they know I am appreciative.

    And of course, there’s always the DM 🙂

  17. Dave Fleet says:

    I’m a little on both sides of this one.

    I’m with Rebecca to an extent – I’m always blown away when people find my posts useful, and I’m flattered when people post about them publicly. It’s humbling, and it’s nice to be able to convey that to people.

    On the flip side, I don’t always find time to respond to everyone who retweets my posts. I wish I could but there just isn’t usually time. So, I try to do it as much as possible.

    I work on the principle that people aren’t retweeting for my benefit, but that I appreciate it regardless and want to communicate that as much as I can.

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