Retweeting compliments. Just no.

showing off on twitter

So, I got into a bit of a debate with the awesome Cathy Bussey on Twitter on Friday about the tendency of some Twitter users to Retweet compliments about themselves.

You know the sort of thing.

@swhittle RT @randomuser Sally is just so SPECIAL, I love her xxx <- Wow, thanks ūüôā


There are a number of reasons why this sort of Tweet is one of the quickest ways to make me think the person sharing it is far from special.

  1. First and foremost, I don’t care that someone else thinks you’re a special flower. In general, my opinion of you is based on my interactions with you. If you’re funny and entertaining, or smart, or snarky, then that’s what I care about. So Jane from accounts thinks you’re super? That’s lovely for you, it really is. But I don’t care. I already think you’re interesting – that’s why I’m following you. Or I was…
  2. Second, why are you sharing that compliment? It’s showing off, pure and simple. In the same way that I hate when people drop into conversation how much they paid for their latest car, or what model of special cool new phone they’re using, I don’t care for it when people want to wave a virtual placard under my face reading I AM AWESOME AND IT’S TRUE BECAUSE OTHER PEOPLE SAID SO.
  3. Third, most of these show off tweets are thinly-disguised humble brags. Adding a faux humble, “Oh, thanks :))))” at the end of a Tweet doesn’t make it any less show-offy.

Now, obviously, this comes with a HUGE caveat of this being my personal opinion – how you use the Internet is entirely your¬†business – and I am free to follow and unfollow as I please. Cathy argues that positivity and promotion are good things, and we don’t do nearly enough of it. Maybe she has a point.

I was told on Twitter by someone else that, in saying I didn’t like retweeted compliments, I’m being unsisterly. That “women who don’t self-promote are letting us all down”.

I don’t know. I tend to think you can be a perfectly adequate¬†feminist without doing the Twitter equivalent of running up to people and¬†shouting about how awesome someone they’ve never heard of thinks you are…

But I’m interested to know what you guys think – is this sort of self-promotion a bit irritating, or has Twitter moved on? Do you think there’s no harm in promoting yourself online? And are the rules of etiquette different for bloggers, individuals and companies? Or do you feel, like me, that it should be enough to thank someone directly for a compliment, and just move on?


Picture: Shutterstock

17 thoughts on “Retweeting compliments. Just no.”

  1. JuggleMum, Nadine Hill (@Businessmum)

    Pfft! I almost spat out my coffee laughing when I read this post!
    I am sooo guilty of RTing compliments that are tweeted my way and I add the ‘faux humble’>> Aww thanks! However in my defence, I didn’t think of it as anything more than a way of acknowledging the nice tweet giver, and saying, hey- thank you for saying something nice! It would seem ruder to me to ignore their tweet and much more boring for anyone else, to just see a load of tweets in my timeline saying @somebody Thanks!

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