Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Twitter etiquette for commenting on tweets & blog posts


If you want to comment on a tweet you should retweet it.* That is by far the best way to comment on a tweet. Detached comments are time-wasters.

When you retweet, you are sharing the underlying tweet with your followers, helping both the tweeter and your followers. You are helping to build conversation, dialogue, and community.

If the tweet is too long to accommodate both the retweet and your comment, retweet part of the tweet and/or keep your comment short, or send the comment in a separate followup tweet, or use a long tweet tool  like twitlonger.

Almost always, the right way to comment on a tweet is to retweet it with your comment.

If you retweet, it's not even necessary to add a comment; the act of retweeting is a powerful comment in and of itself. It says: "this is something I find worthy of sharing with those people who trust me enough to follow me".

To comment on, or otherwise respond to, a tweet, without referencing the underlying tweet, is just plain w.r.o.n.g. None of your followers know what you're talking about, and the recipient usually has no idea either, so you're just wasting a lot of people's time.

If you're going to take the time to comment on a tweet, send something intelligible.

Tweets referencing blog posts

If you like a blog post which has been tweeted, you should post your comment on the blog post itself, either instead of, or in addition to, retweeting. But you should not merely tweet.

Some people try to get into a Twitter conversation about a blog post. While that's okay, it's not enough.

Where the tweeter has tweeted about a blog post, the blog itself is the most important place for you to comment.

Twitter is very fast moving, and we miss most of what goes through our stream. By leaving a permanent comment on the blog post, you help to build a genuine, lasting, growing conversation about the substance of the post. If you fail to do that, none of the blog post's readers will know what you had to say.

So if you're going to take the time to comment, you might as well leave a comment where it will have some impact -- on the blog.

If you want to also comment on Twitter, great; but do that in addition to, not instead of, commenting on the blog post itself.

*By "retweet" I mean "traditional retweet" not the twitter "retweet button" rubberstamp "retweet".

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