Mastering Twitter: Do not LIKE my tweets, RETWEET them if you really like them!

The short point is: If you really like my tweets, do not like them. You will help spread the message to others better if you retweet them. For getting my tweets in your Home timeline, you need to follow me.

Let me explain the relative importance of these main ways of responding to a tweet, and more...

Twitter likes and retweets

What happens when you like a tweet?

When you like my tweet, it does not spread the message. It only does these things:
  • It shows your approval of the information/ thought given in my tweet.
  • It adds to the number of likes below my tweet, so others know that the tweet has been liked by so many people.
  • It comes to me as notification. I can then check who all have liked my tweet.
But it does not show on your Home timeline or profile. It also does not spread the message to others. The message ends there. 

What happens when you retweet a tweet?

Retweeting a tweet does these things:
  • It shows your firm approval to the information/ thought given in my tweet. 
  • It goes to the Home timeline of those who follow you.  So, the message you found useful/ interesting is shared with others and thus spreads far and wide.
  • The retweet behaves like a fresh tweet. If people find a good retweet by you, they will retweet the retweet. My message, which is now your message, is seen by the followers of those who have retweeted your retweet!
  • It shows on your profile. When someone visits your profile, he/she sees it there. So, if you retweet good tweets, people know that you are in good company and have good taste.
  • It adds to the numbers of retweets under my tweet.
  • I also get a notification.

So, if you really like my tweet and find value in it, you should retweet rather than like it.

What happens when you follow someone on Twitter?

If you love my tweets in general because they are useful and interesting, and you feel that you should automatically get my tweets in your Home timeline, you should follow me in addition to retweeting individual tweets.

Following does these things: 
  • My new tweets and retweets show up in your Home timeline. Thus, you don't miss my Twitter messages.
  • It will add a number in your Following List. Others can see that you follow me.
  • It will add a number in my Followers List. Others can see that you follow me.
  • I will be able to send you a Direct Message (DM) [details below]. 
That is why I said, do not like me if you actually like my tweets; retweet the tweets and follow me. 

Please note that liking and retweeting a tweet show your approval of the information/ thought given in the tweet (even if you declare in your bio that "retweets are no endorsement"). However, your following me does not mean you support me all the time; it only means that you want to keep receiving my tweets on your Home timeline. That is why many political opponents follow each other. Mediapersons and research agencies follow many public figures to find what they tweet, not because they like the Twitter handle.

I have compared the main ways of engaging with a tweet. But these are relative. For example, if you have just 10 followers, a single like from a celebrity would perhaps mean much more to you than 100 retweets by one who has just 2 followers. Though that like would not take your tweet to your followers, you yourself will talk about it with your friends and feel great that the celebrity took time to like your tweet. Same goes for mention though in itself it is not as valuable as retweet or reply.

Some more useful tips and tricks about engagement on Twitter:

Retweet with a comment; that adds value to the discussion. This is the best way to engage with a tweet.

When retweeting, just click the retweet button when you are in a hurry. But if you have time, make an  interesting comment that will carry the discussion further. You can think of a new angle that is missing in the tweet or supporting the thought with new evidence or disagreeing in a courteous manner or saying a few words of encouragement.

Do not use hashtags (#) indiscreetly. I have seen tweets stuffed with half a dozen hashtags and stupid hashtags that only make the tweet unreadable. Since I have carried a detailed post on this subject, let me not repeat it here but leave a link to that post: How to use hashtags effectively

Mention my name in any tweet if you want to tell your followers that I am responsible for the message or to refer to me in any discussion on Twitter. When you mention my full Twitter handle (@sociallogging), anywhere in any tweet (do not put this at the beginning of a tweet or retweet because that makes it a reply, not mention), you are making me answerable for the message. I get some benefits out of a mention: I get noticed. If someone clicks on my Twitter ID, he/ she reaches my Twitter profile. If I post good quality tweets, people appreciate that because of the connection made by the mention. 

Two examples of mention
I got a surprise of my life today. @BarackObama congratulated me on phone on my bold stand against partheid being practiced in my...
How can you say with finality that HCQ is not effective against COVID-19? @WHO in its latest tweet says, it is yet to be established that...
Reply to me if you want to say something regarding a tweet and you want to address it to me. If you want to reply to a tweet, click on the call out button under the tweet. I will be able to read the tweet, I will also get a notification and your message will be visible to your and my followers. 

reply is not as good as retweet or even a mention but much better than like. It is important that you make useful and relevant comments in your replies. If you want to reply to my tweet, you just need to click the reply button at the bottom of the tweet and type your message. However, if you want to send a reply on your own or on someone else's tweet, your reply must start with my Twitter handle (e.g. @sociallogging, what you say makes sense in the context of...)
Send Direct Message (DM) when you want to say something privately. You sometimes like to tell me something about my tweet. Direct Message (DM) is the way to do that. You can DM me only if I follow you, so it is one way communication except when two people follow each other on Twitter.

like versus retweet vs mention on Twitter

This is how a follower's profile looks on Twitter.
Pic shows the profile of @sociallogging as seen by someone whom it follows.

Summary of Twitter best practices for effective engagement

  • If you are interested in his/ her tweets whether you like those tweets or not, follow him. 
  • If you like a particular tweet, retweet it. Better, if you can comment while retweeting.
  • If you want to respond to a tweet's content, reply to the tweet.
  • Do not use irrelevant and many hashtags.
  • Mention about a person if you want to associate him with the message or to quote him.
  • Send a direct message if you want to discuss something privately with someone who follows you. 
  • When commenting, add value.
  • If you are not too impressed with a tweet but still value it or want to show your appreciation for it, just like it.
If you like this page, would you mind tweeting about it?   

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