There’s No Room for Thank You in Social Media


Another "Thank You" storm on the Internet.

I get a lot of email.  An awful lot.  Often it feels like my inbox is a waterfall.  The flow of water (with an occasional submerged log) pours down on my head all day long.

One of my pet peeves is the “Thank You” email.  You’ve probably gotten these as well.  An email goes out to a group of people asking for information.  One person responds and sends the required information.  Then the original emailer sends out an email to the entire grouping thanking the person who sent the information.

Sometimes the reply it is simply “Tx.”

To me, this is clutter.  Noise.  It is a useless email that is instantly deleted.  It provides no value to the group at large.  If the person wanted to thank the individual for helping them then they should have hit the “reply” button – not the “reply all.”

The same thing holds true on social networks.  A good motto might be:

Twitter is too short and too public to say thank you.

Ditto for Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and just about any other social media network you can think of (and, of course, email).

It’s not that I’m against etiquette.  In fact, I’m a big believer in civility on social networks.  Nothing gets under my skin more than trolls who spew vindictive everywhere they go.  Discourse – even when opponents violently disagree – should be conducted politely.

But there’s no room for “Thank You” tweets.  What’s the point in a tweet that says: “Thank you for the retweet”?  If you feel the need then DM the person.  If you can’t because the person isn’t following you then add value to the thank you tweet with additional information or a question.

I agree with Sheila Bennett at Media Bistro:

“Should you thank for retweets?  No.  Almost never, in fact.  With a few exceptions, I don’t believe there’s any need to thank for retweets at all.  It might seem polite, or good etiquette, but all it really does is add a lot of unwanted noise to the stream.”

Less noise, people.  Less noise.

Remember this: There’s no need to clog up social media feeds with vanilla thank you’s because the thank you is explicit.  Who isn’t thankful for a retweet?  Who isn’t thankful for a nice comment on a blog post?  Who isn’t thankful for kind wishes on Facebook?

Everyone is so there’s no need to say it.

Okay?

Thank you.  Thank you all.

What about you?  Do think we need more or less thank you’s on social networks?  Do you say thank you?  Or do you think thank you’s clog up your social feed feeds and inboxes?

Links:

Ragan’s PR Daily “What’s the Twitter Golden Rule”

AllTwitter “Should You Thank for Retweets?”

The Demise of Nice

2 Responses to “There’s No Room for Thank You in Social Media”

  1. Actually, I respectfully disagree from start to finish.

    The group “thank you” email has a very valuable purpose: It tells everyone else in the group that the request has been fulfilled and they needn’t work on it. If I asked ten programmers if anyone had a certain challenging piece of code at hand, chances are I would have at some point ten programmers either searching for code or starting to think about the problem and then writing some code. That’s an awful lot of expensive time. Sending a public thank you, then, is a way of both acknowledging effort and telling everyone else that, if they’ve started on this request, they can stop and move on.

    As far as the social media thank yous go, my personal opinion is that social media done well is a conversation, and I am going to be polite in my conversations. There is always going to be a lot of noise in your Twitter stream. One more Tweet that says “thank you” absolutely will not bother me — and it certainly is not going to bother me nearly as much as the people who robo-tweet every three minutes. If you want to lower the signal-to-noise ratio, I think a much better way to go would be for Twitter to ban any Tweet that the same account has tweeted more than, say, five times.

    I furthermore disagree that “thank yous” and gratitude are always explicit. There are many people for whom being grateful for ANYTHING is a completely alien concept — they are the kind of people who feel that things are simply owed them, and who never question why. I will rejoice for you if you don’t know a whole bunch of those people… because I observe them all the time, in a lot of different situations.

    That is all said with respect, and represents my own opinions — obviously your mileage varies. Having said all that… please feel free to retweet me, and I promise I will try my very, very best not to say thank you :)

  2. Hi David:
    I wish I worked where you do. Here’s what I go through:

    – Reply All request for information
    – 3-4 Reply All request fulfillments
    – 3-4 Reply All thank yous from original requester to individuals who fulfilled requests
    – 3-4 “No problems” or “You’re welcome” emails from thank you recipients

    That said most of my rant was tongue-in-cheek – kind of. I agree that we should be polite and gracious, but believe that we send way too many unnecessary emails and status updates to everyone when private thank yous are probably better.

    That said thank you for your comments…

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