I love Twitter. And I'm big on proper manners. With that said, the constant thanking of people on Twitter has gone too far, and we all suffer for it.
Not sure what I'm talking about? When I log onto Twitter lately, this is what I see:
Thanks to @____, @_____, @______ for the follows.
Grateful for RTs from @ ______, @______, @_______.
Hugs for blog visits and comments @_____, @_____, @______.
Right back at you for the #FF (Follow Friday) @____, @_____, @______, @_____.
Appreciated your congrats today @____, @_____, @______, @_____.
Looks like a whole lot of nothing, doesn't it? Call me a cynic, but seeing those messages as regular tweets rather than @replies where your entire following wouldn't have to see them strikes me as suspiciously self-serving. (If you don't know the difference between a regular tweet and an @reply, I explain it here.)
If the goal of your tweet is to thank the people you're listing, then why do ALL of your followers need to see it? Written as I've shown above, I can't help but "hear" the following rather than thanks: Read my blog! RT me! Congratulate me! Me, Me, Me.
Expressing our gratitude as @replies helps our crisis a bit, but we're still spending tremendous amounts of time thanking people and reading about other people getting thanked, which gets at the deeper issue. How much thanking is necessary on Twitter in the first place?
Let's Analyze Each Area of Concern
Thanking New Followers: This one is easy. If you follow the person back, that's an inherent "thank you." If you don't follow the person back, I don't think writing "thanks for the follow @_____" does much to compensate. Follow back (if you want to) OR leave well enough alone. Side note: Do not write direct messages thanking people for the follow. A private message saying: "Thanks for the follow. Check out my [novel, blog, tweets]" is an excellent example of disingenuous gratitude. When you truly interact with people on Twitter through their tweets, they will likely check out your tweets, blog, etc.
Thanking for Retweets: I propose this: If you and other Twitter pals regularly RT each other, then perhaps you can save yourselves some time and NOT thank each other on top of it all. The back and forth RTing, no matter how intermittent, serves as a more useful, "thank you" than a "thank you" tweet. As for thanking in general for RTs, I urge people to wait until the end of the day or the next day, then write one or two tweets (as an @reply) listing those thank yous.
Thanking people for congratulating you, for coming to your event, for helping to promote you in any way: Reread the RT category. That advice applies here too.
Thanking for Follow Fridays: If you feel the need to thank someone for listing you in an #FF that most likely went unread by that person's Twitter stream, then there's probably nothing I can say to convince you otherwise. At least stop including that whole list in your thank you tweet. I'm begging you. Re-sending those long lists of random names clogs up the Twitter stream, forcing many of your followers to see the same tweets over and over.
So group, what do you think? Where is the line between appreciation and overkill? Can we come to an agreement on how to demonstrate our gratitude?
With that, I thank you for reading this lengthy post. And for retweeting it.