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On Twitter, don't push contacts to retweet your messages

In the world of social networking, you can request friends or connections. You can request to join a group, join a game or a cause.

But please, don't request retweets -- especially via a direct, or private message.

This tacky Twitter move comes to us after we both received direct messages asking us to retweet a message. It came from someone we don't really know.

First, Twitter terminology for the uninitiated: A message on Twitter is a tweet. People "retweet'' by taking another person's message and posting it through your account. You give them credit by putting "RT'' and their username in front of the message. It's basically a way of passing along good information. Sometimes it's fine to ask the public for a retweet, especially if it's to try to get the word out about something important.

Example: I'm looking for a good window repair guy. Know anyone? Please RT.

But it gets tacky when you start sending direct messages, also known as DMs, to people you don't know very well requesting a retweet.

It puts the recipient in an awkward position and can feel like spam. A retweet is their prerogative. So unless you know that person well, don't guilt them into pushing your message out on their account.

Rbb Public Relations took an informal poll on Twitter and Facebook asking if it was ethical to request a retweet -- a strong word to use in our opinion -- which is probably why the results were practically split down the middle.

"I think the general consensus is it's tacky to request a retweet,'' said Michelle Catin (@mimi2point0), digital and social media manager at rbb. "Retweets are guided by the basic principles of public relations, and that's relationship building.''

The bottom line: don't put pressure on someone to pass along a message they might not feel comfortable promoting.

The best way to get a retweet is to share information that's compelling and valuable. If it's that's interesting, folks will retweet it on their own. Another tip: Tweets can't be more than 140 characters, but if you want it to be retweeted, keep your message to 120 characters -- that makes it easier to resend with your name attached.

You can read the full list of rbb's do's and dont's here. Post a comment with your own advice or experience in retweeting do's and don'ts.


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