Why we didn’t tweet your link

We get asked a lot about sending links to us. First, realize around half of the posts suggested to us we have already seen. Of the remainder, about half don’t fit into the @TweetSmarter account (as outlined below).

If you still want to to send us links, please read this whole post to understand what we’re looking for. And actually send a link! Don’t just say “I tweeted something you might like.” Realize particularly that we don’t want emails or DMs containing lots of explanation, just links to a site.

So, why didn’t we tweet something you sent to us?

First, realize every day and week is different. Sometimes we adhere more closely to these guidelines. Don’t tweet us and say “but you tweeted such-and-such yesterday.” Each day is slightly different for a variety of reasons. Here are the main overall reasons, in order:

1. It’s not current

  1. We mostly try to tweet things that are less than 48 hours old. Didn’t realize that? It’s one of the reasons we have nearly 300,000 followers. We find the good, new stuff. (And it takes a lot of time to do it!)
  2. Almost every old post ever suggested to us we’ve already tweeted, or read and decided against tweeting.
  3. Some old posts worth tweeting we’ve already tweeted a more current version recently or have scheduled to be tweeted soon.
  4. Yes, sometimes we repeat very old classics that have great content, are still relevant, and that we’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on. So don’t see a couple of old posts one day and get the wrong idea: 99% of what we tweet is new.

2. It’s not significant enough

  1. It’s something we tweet a little, but not a lot of.
  2. It’s something we’ve already covered enough (or too much).
  3. It’s a summary or based on another post, and the other post is a better choice (but: sometimes not).
  4. It’s something we might have tweeted on another day, but on the day you sent it there were higher quality things to share.

3. It’s something we’ve already tweeted

  1. You forgot to check to see if we already tweeted it (this happens a lot).
  2. You checked, but we changed the wording so you didn’t realize we had already tweeted it.
  3. We tweeted something very similar already.

4. It’s poorly written

  1. It’s full of unrelated content, lots and lots of talking about your life, excessively long introductions, not getting to the point for several paragraphs, not making it clear what your point really is, etc., etc.
  2. If English isn’t your first language, run your post by a native English speaker before promoting it. If the content quality is good, we’ll be more forgiving. But we get complaints, and have also noticed that people don’t retweet things that seem written strangely to them. It’s not prejudice: we tweet a LOT of things where clearly English is not the first language of the writer. Content quality is what’s most important.
  3. Auto-translated spam posts begone!
  4. It’s a hollow shell: An outline for a post with very little actual content filled in. Boy, there’s more than one big blog I’d love to call out on this one!
  5. It’s one very short idea that isn’t that useful. Short posts are fine! But you must have some useful details or insights to share. We’ve tweeted one paragraph posts, so any length is fine, but I’ve noticed that many short posts really don’t have that much to say.

5. The site design or ads are poor

  1. Main content loads slowly.
  2. Hard to tell content from ad/links/sidebar.
  3. Hard to read (poor choices of animations, color, fonts, etc.)

6. It’s off topic

  1. We tweet about Twitter and a little about social media generally. A little about technology that affect that internet or Twitter apps. We generally emphasize posts of interest to all users, but also tweet specifically for business users at times. In other words, social media technology for business users is borderline off-topic. Twitter for all users is spot on, content-wise (it still needs to meet other criteria).
  2. If you send us things completely unrelated to what we tweet about (e.g. rap videos), expect to be marked as a spammer. If you send us off-topic requests (e.g. “Tell people to follow me”), expect to be marked as a spammer. How often does this happen? Several times EVERY day.
  3. Realize that we test new kinds of content, and respond to feedback about what we tweet by tweeting more or less of some things. We try to stay responsive to user’s needs.
  4. We don’t want ANY off-topic material of ANY kind tweeted to us. It’s a full time job finding good current ON-topic material. Don’t make our job harder. Yes, we tweet, for example, non-Twitter humor from time to time. That’s because we have lives outside @TweetSmarter and sometimes see things we want to share. We don’t want any help finding non-Twitter material.

7. We don’t want to encourage you

  1. We prefer to give positive feedback and help people learn, rather than negative feedback. But sometimes that’s a challenge, and the easiest thing to do is to ignore you for a bit.
  2. You obviously mean well but aren’t quite listening to our feedback yet (we’ll give you a few chances to listen).
  3. You send us a lot of borderline junk, just barely good enough occasionally and never awful enough to keep us from trying harder to stop you.
  4. Quit saying “You’ll love this!” Arggh! Usually that’s from people who send us borderline content of their own making to promote themselves. No, we DON’T love it.

8. We don’t want to encourage them

  1. Some blogs put out borderline spam or just plain junk, mixed in with a few decent posts. We don’t really want to send people somewhere if we think 90%+ of the content there is poor.
  2. Some blogs have a policy of phrasing things in the most inflammatory or misleading way, and then adding a small correction at the bottom later. This is a really, really bad idea. One of the biggest social media blogs in the world does this regularly, which makes us reluctant to share their material.
  3. If I see so much as even borderline soft-core porn, forget it. And that’s getting harder to avoid these days, as a lot of blogs are monetizing with racier images advertising other content. If there are like 20 pictures of cheerleaders after the post, and one is borderline, we’ll probably overlook it if the content is good. But if those pics are at the top of the sidebar, and most of them are questionable, forget it.
  4. Of course, if we get a malware warning for a site, we won’t tweet it. And we might not tweet anything from that site in the future. Yes, most malware nowadays actually comes from ad networks that blog owners have little control over (since even Google and Yahoo let malware get through, it’s hard to avoid). But some sites have just a ridiculous number of ads, and even though they make their content clear and stand out from the ads,  malware warnings for their site happen frequently. Seriously 50+ ads is waay too much.

9. It’s already ridiculously well known

  1. For example, we don’t Tweet Mashable posts a lot, because we actually get complaints when we do! “Seen it already” “Why should I follow you if I already follow @Mashable” (We don’t ignore them completely, though.)
  2. If we’re late in finding out about something that everyone is talking about (maybe we were sleeping—we do sleep, you know), and it isn’t really on-topic enough, sometimes we’ll pass rather than tell everyone something that doesn’t really matter that they probably already know.
  3. Of course, if it’s on-topic, we’ve been known to overtweet things. Balance is a learning process sometimes :)

10. We screwed up

  1. We make small errors all the time. (We have to work very fast to get through all the work involved and still have some time for other things.)
  2. If we make a big screw-up, we LOVE hearing about it! Seriously, if it wasn’t for feedback of all kinds from our fantastic community, we couldn’t do this job.
  3. It happens. Our apologies…and we’ll try to make it up to you :)

11. Why did we tweet some of your links for awhile and then stop?

We change how we find links all the time. We check our best sources first, and then sometimes check other sources. Usually “other sources” means tweets. And since we’re testing new kinds of search and new sources all the time, inevitably we see a lot of things before we see them in tweets.

12. Why didn’t we credit you for your suggestion when we DID tweet it?

We try not to let this happen. If we found something on our own before you suggested it, it may go out as scheduled without crediting you, because we found it, not you. But sometimes, especially for great community members, we’ll credit you even though we found it without your help, just to be encouraging :) Note that if we see the same link from two people we’ll often credit both, and always at least credit the first person we saw it from.

No, it’s not going to be good for both of us

Saying that if we do you a favor you’ll do us a favor is not a good approach. We’re here to serve a community. I’m not saying we don’t favor content from some people some times, but when it happens it’s generally because they’re people also with a great track record of serving the Twitter community over the years.


You may also want to check out Top 10 Reasons I Did Not RT Your DM Request by the wonderful @buzzedition