Begging for Retweets: Anatomy of a Tweet Gone Wrong

The other day Mashable reviewed this pox on your web service that lets people put annoying Retweet links in their Twitter posts, or Tweets as the cool people refer to them.  Being all concerned about the betterment of the online experience, I immediately spend all day writing this great Twitter Best Practices post so everyone could completely ignore it, thereby simultaneously proving the dire need for best practices and the complete absence of a need for blog posts about best practices.  All in all, it was a fine time.

Still, I held out hope that this ridiculous trend of begging for Retweets like homeless drunks beg for Thunderbird dollars would not get legs.

But lo and behold, while I was trying unsuccessfully to engage in conversation with @stevegillmor and @stoweboyd, both of whom I’ve met in the real world; actually engaging in a little conversation with @guykawasaki and @ajkeen, neither of whom I know in the real world; and bombarding @amyderby and @Joe_the_Stoner with witty and topical quotes from Raising Arizona and The Holy Grail, I saw something more horrifying than Woz dancing.  I saw a Tweet from Mashable with a Retweet link at the end.

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Right there, bigger than Elvis, were some Tweets from the same Mashable that has 216,497 followers (oops, they’ve already gained 128 followers since I started this post), asking people to Retweet its posts.  Not just once, but multiple times.  Dude, I love Mashable, but do you really think you need Retweets?

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And while every Mashable Tweet was not infested with these stupid links, there were lots that were, including a couple of self-Retweets asking for third party Retweets.  That is everything wrong with Twitter marketing in one Tweet.

Maybe I don’t get Twitter after all, but isn’t there supposed to be at least some conversational element to Twitter?  Isn’t there some natural law equivalent that dictates how we are supposed to act on Twitter?  Or is it just a giant flea market where everyone’s out to make a quick buck and the new people are the easy marks?

Sure, I used Mashable as an example of a content provider that is exempt from the Fg/Fs Ratio, and, at least up until now, it’s probably my favorite web site for tech news.  But don’t these leading companies have some obligation to help keep Twitter beautiful?

Somewhere Iron Eyes Cody is shedding a tear.