Would you Retweet (RT) This Tweet?
Many of you might answer yes.
Everyday across the world, thousands of people share information (photos, video, blogs, news articles, etc.) through the Twitter ReTweet function (RT), but do you know what you’re actually RTing? Do you click that link to verify the content you’re sharing is legit to the 140 character preamble?
Stop. Think. Admit it.
We’ve all done it. We’ve all RTd something without really making sure the information we’re sharing is what we think it is. In fact, I’m guilty as charged.
I learned my lesson the hard way when I RTd an article without first verifying that the web page I was telling my followers to check out actually worked (and it didn’t) only to get about a zillion replies from my followers calling me out publicly on my #fail.
Poor Twitter etiquette that can easily be corrected and forgiven, right?
I tell clients that social media is a great opportunity to create and engage online brand advocates. Most brands lay down hours upon hours of strategic online brand management framework followed by hours and hours of daily resourcing to engage their community and ensure YOU share their message. They want you to RT away.
But what happens when you inadvertently become a brand advocate for a brand or a person you wouldn’t support if you knew what he or she did outside their social media communities? What happens when you find out that trusted Twitter feed resource you access daily to gain new industry insights, learn about fresh job opportunities, or find out the latest trends is operated by an alleged criminal?
You might want to take back some of those RTs you shared. Most of us probably wouldn’t openly champion for an alleged criminal, and we more than likely wouldn’t spread positive word of mouth about the person if we knew about their criminal conduct. However, most social media platforms don’t force people to divulge this information, so they can operate under the guise of a trusted source. And we unknowingly might support someone we normally wouldn’t.
It’s like online dating. I think of Brad Paisley’s ‘Online’ video where George Costanza dives into online dating claiming to be 6 foot 5, drives a Maserati and has six-pack abs. People can hide behind their online profiles, hide scary truths, and project themselves to be someone or something they are not.
So let me ask you again. Would you RT this Tweet knowing the person who first posted is currently being investigated for some sketchy criminal conduct? Perhaps not.
But how do you know when to RT and who to champion for? Well, you don’t. We can start by doing more due diligence in the online realm before publicly signing on to become an advocate of information coming from sources we’re really not familiar with. And always check the content you’re RTing before you do it. Make sure it’s information you actually do want to champion to your community.