Back in 2009, I was at Text 100, the PR agency (now called Archetype). It was early days for social media in India and we were all tentatively trying whatever worked online, on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
I joined Twitter in December 2008 and was still grappling with what to say and how to use the platform better without seeming like wasting my time.
In October 2009, Bengaluru played host to the Nasscom Product Conclave at the Lalit Ashok and had invited Guy Kawasaki to talk about Twitter! I was among the eager audience.
Here’s his presentation from that keynote.
During the Q&A, I mustered some courage to ask him about why he repeats his tweets so often, and if he doesn’t feel awkward doing so.
Guy patiently explained that he does that to ensure that people in different timezones get to see the content he has prepared after a lot of time and effort. That made sense and I started following that from then onwards – before that, I used to feel terribly awkward in repeating my content on Twitter. I started with the perception that if I repeat my own tweets more than once a day, people would think I’m desperate (which is true, obviously).
But Guy’s logic of focusing not on what people think and only on his own content quality and the kind of reach it could gain made sense.
Eventually, Twitter introduced the Retweet button in November 2009, and that allows you to retweet your own tweet, instead of tweeting it afresh.
I now retweet my own tweet over different time periods of the day, to match newer people who may be active online and may see my tweet (and read my post) without worrying about what people may think about it.
Twitter is a busy timeline, and things change very fast. So unless someone goes to my profile and sees the multiple tweets or retweets, chances are that most people may see my post only once.
But then, the shift in perception that Guy offered made me consciously overlook the ‘what would people think?’ factor and focus on my own effort in content creation.
Prior to that, I was only considering the physical/real-world equivalent of the act on Twitter – me standing with a placard in my hand carrying a title, lead and link to my post, going back to my place, coming back again to the same place and stand for some more time and so on.
It took Guy’s point of view for me to change my perception.
I do not repeat my content on any other platform, however – not on LinkedIn or Facebook (I do a weekly summary on Sundays, and have been told repeatedly by many people that they find it immensely useful). This is because these are relatively slower platforms compared to Twitter and the chances of someone seeing multiple posts of the same content is far higher.
Is that as far as I’m willing to go in terms of content push that seems awkward at first?
No, there were newer learnings.
Last year, in September, I was chatting with a few folks on Twitter and found Manish Maheswari, Managing Director, Twitter India, replying in the thread and retweeting his own reply! I had not considered retweeting my own reply to someone else before that – after all, I’m replying to that person/individual – why would I retweet that too.
So I asked Manish and he was kind enough to explain the thought behind his action: he wanted his tweet to reach other people besides the intended participants tagged (and their+my followers)!
That made perfect sense and it was good learning. But even then, I am usually very careful in using this option – I choose occasions where what I’m saying could be useful/interesting to a broader set of audiences/followers and retweet those replies alone.
The offline equivalent of this is really odd: I’m talking to you, and suddenly, after saying something to you, I look around and shout what I just said again, at everybody else! Somehow, I feel it disrespects the people in the conversation who have taken the time to enter that conversation (one or more people), by including the world too into it.
But Manish’s point is valid and used appropriately, it is purposeful. I primarily use this option when I reply to my own tweets in a thread since the reply could then seen by a lot more people. I use it less when I’m replying to someone else – it feels disrespectful to me, but I understand its utility value.
I haven’t come around to convincing myself to Like/Favorite my own content on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or LinkedIn.
I have been told by many people that Liking my own content is seen as an important signal by most social media algorithms and is useful in pushing them to newer audiences further because a Like indicates the algorithm to consider showing it on top of a timeline on platforms like LinkedIn and Facebook. This is particularly a popular hack suggested by growth hackers, on LinkedIn, where they insist that you should Like all your posts, and more importantly comments, after 72-96 hours of posting them because that sends a fresh signal to the LinkedIn algorithm to treat that post or comment as important enough to put on the top of someone’s timeline again.
But I consider the real-world equivalent of it and I cringe. It seems like the literal social media equivalent of Geet’s iconic dialog from Jab We Met: “Mein apni favourite hoon”!
This is one social media hack that I could do without… is my current thought. I have not come across a convincing reason to follow/try this yet – I may try it at some point, feel like a total dork and stop doing it… I don’t know.
I’m aware of its benefits in terms of increased engagement and impressions but I don’t think I have the compulsion to use this hack and increase the metrics. At least not yet!
Do you repeat your content?
Do you retweet your own reply to someone?
Do you Like your own post or comment?