Zia Hassan

Please Rt

This was a common phrase on Twitter about a decade ago when Twitter was at its prime.

The conventional wisdom was that you won’t go viral, you won’t be re-tweeted, you won’t be shared… unless you ask for it.

There were floods of tweets that ended with PLEASE RT promoting all sorts of things: ideas, music, stories, news articles…

Another manifestation of this same disease is the common “Hit Like and Subscribe” when you watch a YouTube video.

I suspect the people that do the re-tweeting and re-sharing because they were asked are doing so because they want to build social capital. Because when they themselves have something to promote later on, the people whom they supported will return the favor.

This kind of content, the stuff promoted out of an expected reciprocal share, won’t go anywhere. It isn’t remarkable work. It is the residue of the attempt at a promotional partnership.

What does get shared is work that is compelling. Artists, activists, and others who want to get their voice heard would be better served by honing their craft than by begging for attention.