Saturday, May 26, 2012

Twitter lesson I learned from Denise (@dhowell): the awesomeness of retweets

I first learned about the value of a "retweet"* from something that wasn't technically a retweet at all.

Denise (@dhowell) is a dynamic, really cool lawyer/geek/talk show host/writer from California. She is an "early adopter" of technology, and was heavy into Twitter before I'd ever even heard of it.

She knew me from my blogging and legal work fighting the RIAA (see, e.g. "Recording Industry vs. The People").

When I was new to Twitter, and just starting to try to get a bit more active, she sent me a tweet. It went something like this:

Hello Ray Beckerman (@RayBeckerman) author of Recording Ind v People Welcome to Twitter!
Now I looked at this welcome, and thought its format strange indeed. I asked myself:
1. Why would she be using my full name, and not just calling me Ray? I know my last name, and don't need to have it spelled out for me.
2. Why would she be mentioning the name of my blog? I write the blog. I'm quite conversant with it's name, since I gave it its name.
3. Why is she telling me the URL for my blog? I should know the URL by now, I go there multiple times a day.
So I thought about it for awhile, and visited her Twitter profile page, and there it hit me what Denise had been doing.

My network was around 50 people.

Her network was around 3000 people.

She was doing me a favor. She wasn't just greeting me, she was introducing me to her friends, making me available to her entire, wonderful network. Once I'd put 2 and 2 together (I'm a bit slow), I realized what a nice thing she was doing : Denise had introduced me and my blog to all of her friends on Twitter, and at the same time had let them know that I was.... an okay guy in her book.

That was the day I understood the awesome significance of the retweet. It is saying to someone, "I value you and what you have said, and want to share it with all of my Twitter friends".

(Of course it took me another month to figure out how to DO a retweet, but that's a story for another day).

So thank you, Denise (@dhowell), for making me realize the magic of the retweet.

Or should I say:
Thank you, Denise Howell (@dhowell), host of This Week in Law for teaching me importance of RT's #TWiL

*4/14/10.6:06 PM EST. When I say "retweet" I'm referring to the traditional retweet, not the pseudo-retweet button created by Twitter to enhance advertising & commercial exploitation. To understand the distinction see my post "Twitter tip: don't use Twitter's pseudo "retweet" button"

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  1. I recall fist joining twitter and using it basically as an rss feed. Reading the various channels that I had begun to follow and finding it just another very useful technical resource. No interaction on my part. It wasn't until a wonderful kind individual - @coffee_offline - mentioned my name and I was... floored.
    From that moment on, it became that little bit of magic...

  2. Thanks Ray, for the personal reflection on the DUM-RT issue (my name for the new feature as opposed to SMA-RT or TRU-RT) and thanks too for your activism on #saveretweets

  3. Very good advice Ray! I'll will utilize it to the fullest!


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