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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 🙂


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


Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She's also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world's coolest ten year old.

About The Author


Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She's also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world's coolest ten year old.


  1. Notmyyearoff

    Unsisterly?? Hehe. If I retweeted compliments about myself on Twittee my brother would be extremely brotherly and call me a loser. (Because he’s lovely like that). I don’t mind people retweeting their compliments really but I know some are bordering on narcissism. I’m going I enjoy muting some stuff on Twitter when I finally update my app 🙂
    Notmyyearoff recently posted..Silent Sunday / Project 52 – Week 23My Profile

    • Sally

      Oh definitely, my brother would bring me down to earth with a bump!

  2. Actually Mummy...

    I think it’s fine! I don’t have to read or engage with it if I don’t want to, but I think it shows respect for the person who has taken the time to tweet that about you, and in some cases it’s just the virtuous circle of marketing. (As in the case of someone tweeting ‘Great post’ and a link to your article – I think it would be churlish not to retweet that with a thanks).
    I wouldn’t retweet a “That Helen Wills is so beautiful and really doesn’t look her age” kind of tweet. But then again, I might – I don’t know, it’s never happened so far…
    I don’t, however, think it’s ‘unsisterly’ not to – that’s just nonsense.
    Actually Mummy… recently posted..Great British Holidays: 5 reasons to visit Lynton and LynmouthMy Profile

    • Sally

      Gosh, I wouldn’t ever RT someone Tweeting my post. I’d just Tweet them directly and say, “Thanks for sharing my post”. It just feels like bragging to me. But I shall make a point of Tweeting how gorgeous you look next time I see you, because frankly, you always look impossibly glam when I see you…

  3. Ruth

    C’mon, is social media meant for much else?! Well, ok, there’s a fair bit in between but in general, social channels have definitely become more of a place for showing off and taking the mick out of ourselves than anything else.

    This sisterhood thing is all a bit much mind. For me, the women I tend to respect most and feel have my back more than anyone are those that are the first to put me in my place and teach me something along the way. My passive aggressive little sister being a prime example of this.

    I didn’t go in for that whole RT love affair in the beginning. I thought it was totally naff. Cringeworthy. But then it became a case of “heck, if I can’t beat ’em, I’m gonna join ’em”. Everyone else was telling everyone how wonderful everyone else thought they were so I would join in. It’s definitely made me less self deprecating and started to realise heck, all the things I do, do for folks are hugely appreciated and it’s lovely to be told you’re lovely and it’s more than ok to shout about how lovely other people think you are.

    Great post. Such debate is good for the sisterhood.
    Ruth recently posted..It’s a love plate affair – Mindful EatingMy Profile

    • Sally

      I’m still in the naff and cringeworthy camp. If you’re promoting your work, then it is enough to be good. RT’ing of compliments, outside a professional context, just makes me think maybe you need to share those rave reviews because you’re not actually good enough to let your work/comments stand on their own. Cynical? Moi?

  4. Fritha Strickland

    I reckon it depends, if someone is saying ‘your so pretty’ or something and you RT it’s a bit cringworthy but if someone is saying ‘loved that post for x and x reason’ then I think thats cool and I’d RT it! I’m off to see your debate with Cathy now! x
    Fritha Strickland recently posted..Traveling by EurostarMy Profile

    • Sally

      I agree – I think RT’ing praise for a book or something like that is just marketing and it’s part of social media but the “you’re so great” Tweets being RT’d just feels a bit icky..

  5. Muddling Along

    Does feel like a bit like LOOK ! Someone loves ME !

    And then there’s the whole #ff thank everyone, clog up the timeline thing…
    Muddling Along recently posted..Plaster on the PollyAnna smileMy Profile

    • Sally

      Amen. We can be unsisterly together.

  6. Jason

    Depends on the compliment really, is work related, is it about how fantastic it is., how often does the person retweet their own compliments? As previous post said, “I know some are bordering on narcissism…”

  7. Donna

    I don’t mind the odd RT but when brands RT every single positive comment it gets a bit much.
    Donna recently posted..B is for BabyledMy Profile

  8. 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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