Gini Dietrich

When You Fake RT, You ASS-U-ME

By: Gini Dietrich | April 19, 2011 | 
176

In January, Mark Schaefer wrote a blog post called, “Is it OK to fake your tweets?

He begins the post by saying:

“The other day a prominent Twitter celebrity was kind enough to re-tweet one of my blog posts.  It was not Kim Kardashian.  At least that time.  Any way, because of his power and influence, my link was promptly re-tweeted by 12 of his followers.  Wow, that’s influence right?

Only problem is, in that period of time, my server was down. None of them could have possibly read my blog post.

Welcome to the world of fake tweeting.

How often does this happen?

I’m guessing more than we could possibly realize.  How many people are either tweeting without reading … or not even tweeting themselves at all?”

And, of course, he had an image of Kim Kardashian tweeting wonderful things about him that cracked me up.  

My comment on the post was:

You kill me! LOL!! It’s funny. We JUST had this conversation today. Someone was looking at the number of clicks on a certain tweet (112). But when I looked at my analtyics dashboard that our CCO so patiently gives me every day, I noticed only 48 people actually clicked through from the tweet. So 64 people fake tweeted. More than half. Oy vey.

And I went on about my day. But something he said to me in response to my comment (“this sounds like a blog post”) has stuck with me. And it’s begun to grate on my nerves. And not only is it grating on my nerves that people are fake tweeting, but also that they are assuming the content you’re linking to says one thing and tweeting their assumption.

THIS DRIVES ME CRAZY.

If you want to have a Twitter conversation, don’t assume you know what the link is about before you dive in, head first. ESPECIALLY if you think you’re going to debate me. Might want to check the facts first.

Let me give you an example.

Jayme Soulati has made it a goal to redefine the meaning of public relations. She’s been writing about it for months and enlisting help from PR and integrated marketing professionals. She’s even managed to get input from PRSA. I’m fully supportive of these efforts, but think we have a long way to go before it’s redefined and our industry begins to have a better perception.

Because I have a vested interest in seeing her succeed and because well, Spin Sucks, I tweet her blog posts, after I’ve read and commented on them.

For instance:

Should we define PR for fifth graders? by @soulati http://bit.ly/e4gEgW

I got a few retweets on that from people who have actually clicked on the link and read what it’s about. That’s good!

But there were more than five RTs that said things such as:

Why should I care? RT @ginidietrich Should we define PR for fifth graders? by @soulati http://bit.ly/e4gEgW

Which makes it pretty evident you haven’t read the blog post. You’ve just made an assumption and RT’d the link, likely in the hopes of debating me or Jayme.

Or, maybe I’m giving you too much credit and you’re just being lazy and figure it’ll be a good post and you’re adding some value by asking your network a question to perhaps entice them into reading the blog post.

I’m all for a good debate. I love professional discourse. But we all know the definition of ASS-U-ME.

Do yourself a favor. At least click on the link and quickly scan the material before you RT it. You’ll help the blogger’s traffic and you won’t have made an assumption that ends up making you look like a donkey.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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176 Comments on "When You Fake RT, You ASS-U-ME"

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NancyD68
NancyD68
5 years 2 months ago

Maybe I just don’t get it. Why would someone RT something they have not read? I don’t have that many followers (yet) but I always make sure anything I RT not only have I seen, but I have liked and think that my followers may get something out of, even if it is only a laugh.

I don’t have time for games or nonsense. All of my Tweets are me. (Maybe I should clone myself – that could be interesting) I like having conversations with people and so again, why do I want to fake that?

NancyD68
NancyD68
5 years 2 months ago

Maybe I just don’t get it. Why would someone RT something they have not read? I don’t have that many followers (yet) but I always make sure anything I RT not only have I seen, but I have liked and think that my followers may get something out of, even if it is only a laugh.

I don’t have time for games or nonsense. All of my Tweets are me. (Maybe I should clone myself – that could be interesting) I like having conversations with people and so again, why do I want to fake that?

MollyFulton
MollyFulton
5 years 2 months ago
I have often been tempted to RT on the basis of a good headline – and a couple of times I have – with full disclosure that I am only amused by the title, having not read the post (e.g. Italy Enraged by Jersey Shore – that’s funny w/o wasting my time on the article, right?). But your point is well taken. If one wants to contribute to the conversation and/or truly create value in thought, word, and deed – it’s pretty helpful to know what the hell you’re talking about. Good titles are ticklers, not the full story –… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 2 months ago

@NancyD68 I’m with you! Whenever someone DMs me and asks me if I’ll tweet a blog post for them, I always tell them I’ll be happy to after I read it. Some people find this exasperating, especially if they know I read their stuff anyway. But I just won’t do it blindly. The one time I do, it’ll be something I vehemently disagree with and then the definition of assume prevails.

KDillabough
KDillabough
5 years 2 months ago
Gini, I’ve never RT’d without going to the link and reading the article. But this brings up a great point. I spend a huge amount of time reading (which I love), RT’ing things I think others will love and benefit from…but it’s easy to spend hours consuming content for the purpose of my own learning, and then to share. Not complaining…love to do it. But I find, then, that the time I’m devoting to my own blog and business growth is diminished. A bit of a catch 22. In order to grow and build my business and credibility, I want… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 2 months ago

@MollyFulton Now you CAN RT this post! LOL! And your point is well taken in that you probably don’t want to read some terrible story about Jersey Shore. But then, I wouldn’t want to RT it, either. Kind of like the whole he who shall not be named here (hint: #winning)…I refused to say his name or tweet anything about him on principle.

KDillabough
KDillabough
5 years 2 months ago

@MollyFulton Totally understand the temptation, but I agree: without reviewing the info yourself, how can you be (over-used word here) authentic?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 2 months ago

@KDillabough So I have some advice: Use Social Oomph or Hootsuite to schedule your tweets. I do this when I read something I want to tweet, but instead of doing it right then, I schedule it. That way, it looks like I’m on Twitter all day when I’m really only there very early in the morning and after 6 p.m. And I can spend my time engaging with people, clicking on links, and deciding what I want to read later when I am there.

adamtoporek
adamtoporek
5 years 2 months ago
Hi Gini, This is my first time commenting here, but I’ve been visiting for a few weeks. You really have a great site! I enjoyed this post and agree with the message, so I have to ask: How do you feel about Triberr? It basically automates what you are discussing in this post. I’m still pretty new to Twitter, and I’m still trying to wrap my head around Twitter itself, much less the Triberr thing. I know some of the people I respect most in the blogosphere / social media world use it, but it certainly puts assumption on autopilot.… Read more »
KDillabough
KDillabough
5 years 2 months ago
@ginidietrich Thanks for the advice Gini: I have Hootsuite, but haven’t taken the time to learn and understand its use. What I’m finding is that the learning curve and time commitment to understand all the tools is as time-consuming as the “production” side of the biz. Perhaps it’s just the lifelong learner in me that yearns to understand things…I spend as much time figuring out how to use the darn things as I do finally using them But thanks for the advice and the prompt: hootsuite learning curve today! I probably have about 7 unread training emails from them in… Read more »
Soulati
Soulati
5 years 2 months ago

Thanks for making our collective journey to try and define PR part of this discussion on faking the alphabet. I kinda want to know how peeps do that? How can the ticker increase and the analytics show differently? Now my secret is out; I can’t possibly fake it.

I’ve written in the past about RTs, too. “Think Before You RT.” Kinda like that Miller beer campaign I did at an agency in Chicago, “Think Before You Drink.”

Now I’m going to head to that little green button above and click it! Thanks for the mentions!

MollyFulton
MollyFulton
5 years 2 months ago

@KDillabough When I RT based on a headline – again, it is with full disclosure that I am only interested in the comedy of the title. I don’t think I’m being inauthentic. When I’m weighing in on something for real, I read – a lot. I’m in complete agreement with you about the dilemma of automation. I never use autoresponses, but Gini’s advice about scheduling is very good.

johnfalchetto
5 years 2 months ago

@reidontravel (a bogger for lonely planet) once got so sick of blind RTs he posted a link to yougotrickrolled.com under the tweeet Top 20 travel destinations.

Maybe a nice video saying you got spinsucked?

KDillabough
KDillabough
5 years 2 months ago

@MollyFulton Totally get your point on the RT based on headline, and wouldn’t classify that as inauthentic, ‘cuz you said you do so with disclosure. I meant RT’ing content value without at least a quick read/review as being inauthentic. We’re on the same page:)

Nikki_Stephan
5 years 2 months ago
This has become a pet peeve of mine, as well. Another reason it’s important to read the content first before sharing is to make sure the link is active! I remember a time when I sent a tweet with a link, but I missed the last letter when I copied the URL, so the link wasn’t active. I got a few RTs, but only one person gave me the heads up that the link wasn’t active – meaning not everyone read it before they tweeted it. I always remember that and in addition to actually caring about what the content… Read more »
arminda
5 years 2 months ago

What I’m discovering is how wonderfully small this world of SM is, and the value for each of us in actually reading what’s out there. Here’s what I learn: all the cool and intelligent and great people I know, know one another, and community is about sharing, contributing, and gleaning information. Then if we’re smart, we RT relevant content with a new nugget of our own to add to the growing base of knowledge.

Jayme is amazing. Gini is a rockstar

Shonali
5 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich You’re very good about scheduling your tweets; I’m very hit-and-miss when it comes to that… I have to get better! What I particularly like about your tweets is that I know you’re not just scheduling anything and everything. That makes a huge difference.

Shonali
5 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich @NancyD68 I think maybe sometimes people who are trying to build “large” followings will RT away till the end of day in the hopes that others will follow them. They’re probably also trying to build visibility within certain communities that use hashtags frequently.

Shonali
5 years 2 months ago

All I will say is: LOVE.

KDillabough
KDillabough
5 years 2 months ago

@Shonali @ginidietrich Now I’m even more super-jazzed to learn how to schedule tweets: I’m with you Shonali!

MackCollier
MackCollier
5 years 2 months ago
Gini I don’t see this as ‘fake’ tweeting, but as a sign of the trust that a network places in the person they are following. For example, if I saw you tweet ‘Guys, @BethHarte has just written THE definitive guide to IMC. The rest of you can stop writing now – http://www.shortenedurlhere.com‘ then I would likely RT that link without reading it. Because I trust that if you are sharing the link, that it’s amazing (plus I trust that anything Beth writes is amazing). Again, I see it as a sign of trust and appreciation for the great content you… Read more »
Soulati
Soulati
5 years 2 months ago

@arminda I am absolutely amazed when the 6 pixels of separation continues to be proven among our growing community. Happened after Social Slam with someone I just met who happens to own a website blog with another tweep from my legal niche. Always jaw dropping, cool and jazzy! (Thanks for the kudos, Arminda! )

EricaAllison
5 years 2 months ago
Taking a page from your guide book, I schedule my tweets in advance of the posts that I find most relevant, interesting or likely to engage. Do I do it every day without fail? No. I do my best and I think the folks that follow me know that what I’m choosing to tweet, I’ve read. That was why the original Triberr approach wasn’t a fit for me, I wasn’t reading all of the posts that I was tweeting and I didn’t know the folks well enough to have the trust factor that @MackCollier is referring to. So, as you… Read more »
EricaAllison
5 years 2 months ago

Oh, and my mother taught me early on the definition of ASS-U-ME. I felt so worldly when she did. : )

KDillabough
KDillabough
5 years 2 months ago

@EricaAllison @MackCollier Erica, I’m at your “exhausting” phase. Glad to hear of all the solutions, opinions and perspectives here. And Mack…I agree that when someone takes the time to preface the RT, and it’s someone you trust that’s doing the share, it’s really their reputation that’s on the line if the link/share stinks.

T60Productions
5 years 2 months ago

Hi Gini… I think a lot of the people out there who fake tweet just end up making themselves look bad in the long run. If one of there followers takes the time to read the blog post, they know what’s up.

As for the negative nellies out there… “Why should I care? RT”… I never give much credence to them when I see there RT. I’m a half-half kind of guy so I don’t bother following them.

–Tony Gnau

jackielamp
jackielamp
5 years 2 months ago

I LOVE THIS POST. It’s very frustrating when people RT with their commentary and it’s so obvious they didn’t read the article because their comments are way off base. I think if you want to RT something without reading first because you trust the tweeter and/or author of the piece, OK that’s fine by me. It’s hard to read everything. But if you’re going to throw an opinion out there, please read the article first and give an educated opinion. Otherwise….ASS-U (more than ME).

C_Pappas
C_Pappas
5 years 2 months ago
So ‘fake it till you make it’ doesnt work on Twitter?! LOL. So with me I am tempted beyond belief to RT things from trusted people as Mack mentioned in the comments. Do I need to read the article if the tweet conveys a message that I think my followers will be interested in and I trust the original source? Perhaps. So, I feel like sometimes I am neglecting Twitter sometimes and this has a lot to do with my little spare time to get out there and read good stuff that I feel derserves to be passed along. I… Read more »
cubanalaf
cubanalaf
5 years 2 months ago
Sometimes I read an article and take it much differently than someone else. I read it twice, even – but as an auditory learner, unless I read it out loud, sometimes I just don’t get it. It might seem as if I haven’t read the article to someone who took it differently – but on the flipside, isn’t this something we struggle with with clients? We might mean one thing, but they take it some other way. Or the way my opinion is stated might lead you to believe that I didn’t read it/you don’t agree. Someone might have a… Read more »
Adrian_Dayton
Adrian_Dayton
5 years 2 months ago
Me culpa, I’ve been guilty of this. Sometimes I RT, then I read the article (and sometimes wish I hadn’t shared it) Sometimes I RT something because it comes from a trusted source and I’m honestly not interested in reading it- but I know some of my followers will bill. Sometimes I’m just being lazy and I want to add value without verifying that the link is actually valuable. I don’t think its necessarily bad to RT without reading something, but it is risky. You risk sharing something that is of poor quality- and that hurts your brand. I might… Read more »
jgwhitt
jgwhitt
5 years 2 months ago

Authenticity seems to be such a big topic in SM circles, so it is surprising to me that one wouldn’t think it would be important to actually read the article for RT’ing. I admit I have done it in the past but I think managing a corporate Twitter feed has made me more careful about what I retweet professionally and personally. I just want to avoid tweeting something that could potentially harm either of the brands in my life.

Success4Coaches
Success4Coaches
5 years 2 months ago

This post is great. I actually am

Success4Coaches
Success4Coaches
5 years 2 months ago

This is a great post. I won’t RT what I haven’t read with very few exceptions. The exceptions are if I have scanned a post and consider the source reputable. My pet peeves are the people who RT something someone tweeted when in fact they didn’t tweet actually tweet it.

Success4Coaches
Success4Coaches
5 years 2 months ago

This is a great post. There are so many people who RT with one purpose and that is to gain popularity. For that reason, they don’t care about what the post was actually about.. Personally, I won’t RT unless I read it and liked it! My pet peeves are the people who RT someones tweet when the person never tweeted it. The RT-er cheated and I find that outrageous!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 2 months ago

@KDillabough Start with Social Oomph then. No training. No learning curve. Just do as if you’re tweeting, but you set a date and time.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 2 months ago

@Shonali I do it every day as part of my routine, from 7 a.m. through 6 p.m. I got caught up on my Reader on Sunday so I scheduled most of the week’s tweets then. I used to feel badly that I was tweeting something a few days old, but now I know it’s driving more traffic to the blogger so I don’t care!

KenMueller
KenMueller
5 years 2 months ago
@ginidietrich @KDillabough I’ll just weigh in as someone who doesn’t like scheduling tweets. I never have. And I am on Twitter a lot in between things. I multitask very well. I’m ok with what Gini does because she IS on Twitter live at times and does respond to people. Many who schedule….that’s all they do. The way I look at it…if I only tweet live, it sets expectations. People know whether I’m online or not, and have an idea as to whether or not I’ll respond in a timely manner. You could call me a purist across the board on… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 2 months ago

@adamtoporek First, thank you! Secondly, that was exactly my biggest problem with triberr in the beginning. But they created a manual option so I can go in and schedule the posts after I’ve read them. It’s really up to you. As @MackCollier points out above, there are some people you’ll blindly RT because you trust the heck out of them, which is what Triberr strives to do. Or you can use the manual option to send stuff out after you’ve had a chance to vet it.

KDillabough
KDillabough
5 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich Thanks, Gini, for the heads-up and help to alleviate my head-banging:)

nateriggs
nateriggs
5 years 2 months ago
To be honest, I think it could go both ways. On one side, I will admit in some cases I have faked tweeted when there was a relationship and I was supporting the content of someone who 1) consistently produces good stuff, and 2) if in the first few sentences I can find a nugget of interest. On the other side, I think fake tweeting might be some of what is causing the slow death (and by death I mean shrinking user base) of Twitter. Most regular users do not know how nor have the desire to use tools to… Read more »
EricaAllison
5 years 2 months ago

@KDillabough Woops, meant to write, I only RT’d what I had read and commented on. I was trying to comment first and then RT. But, I think you knew what I meant! : )

michael_taggart
michael_taggart
5 years 2 months ago
This is becoming a real problem because of the (perfectly laudable) activity of content curation. The notion that curation is a way to avoid censure in highly regulated industries is gaining traction. I have some financial services clients and some see curation as the innoculation against the trouble content *creation* can bring. There are even books about it. You’ve probably read one Gini. So people get into the whole idea that curation can help them achieve their community management goals and then, one day, they think “hey, I could save a lot of time by bringing this stuff to my… Read more »
KDillabough
KDillabough
5 years 2 months ago

@EricaAllison Did indeed:)

dino_dogan
5 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich @adamtoporek triberr @MackCollier yeah…what Gini said (abt Triberr) 🙂

Thnx Gini for letting me know of the mention..I was behind on my reading today so I missed it.

Mack…people who blindly RT and add (what they think is) a witty comment are assess indeed 🙂

KaryD
KaryD
5 years 2 months ago
The only time I come close to “fake RT” is when I see someone tweet a link to a post that I already read on my reader and then I RT without clicking the url in the tweet. And, when I do this, I gotta admit that I feel a little dirty. I question – was that a good link? What if there’s now a whole slew of comments that have changed the course of the message? A RT is an endorsement and/or an extension of your name and your brand. I even shy away from the “new” RT’s that… Read more »
MackCollier
MackCollier
5 years 2 months ago

@dino_dogan @ginidietrich @adamtoporek triberr So Dino are you calling me an ass?

ExtremelyAvg
ExtremelyAvg
5 years 2 months ago
@KenMueller @ginidietrich @KDillabough I agree that it is fine for Gini to schedule her tweets, because we know her type of schedule and the massive following she has. When I send something to Gini, I don’t expect a response, or at the very least, I don’t expect it right away. If someone is new to twitter and trying to build up relationships, the this is, in my humble opinion, a bad idea. If you scedule your tweets and someone responds within seconds, the expect you to be there, to have a conversation. If you are not, they will just assume… Read more »
Shonali
5 years 2 months ago

@ginidietrich I got over the “it’s a few days old” part as well for the same reason, but the one thing I don’t think I can do right now is do ’em on Sundays (or even the weekend in general) – I’m really trying to keep that “offline” time. I think I’ll have to figure out how to incorporate it into my day, maybe 2-3 times a day, for 15-20 minutes. But I don’t know if I can do it at 7 a.m., LOL.

Shonali
5 years 2 months ago

@ExtremelyAvg That is true. But I don’t think it’s a bad idea for people/businesses who are new to set up, say, one scheduled tweet a day – say it’s the new blog post. And FWIW (taking a page out of @3HatsComm ‘s vocab), I personally expect anyone who I @ message to respond. Doesn’t matter if it’s late, I can live with that. But Rock Star or no Rock Star, respond, dammit! Unless it’s a spammer, in which case I’d like them to all go back under their special Rock. @KenMueller @ginidietrich @KDillabough

KDillabough
KDillabough
5 years 2 months ago

@ExtremelyAvg @KenMueller @ginidietrich Love the p.s.! And since I’m nowhere near Rock Star status, I will continue to be “live”, while investigating the tools that Gini suggested. Perhaps there’s a happy medium there somewhere.

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