My answer to this question would be a loud yes, although there are some situations when requesting a retweet from friends and followers is acceptable – for example when you are looking for a writer or a proofreader and you are trying to get the community involved o help find someone available for such a job.
But asking for RTs when you post a link to your latest article is shameless self promotion and does not make the basis for good Twitter behavior. I’ve been there, done that, and I know for a fact that, although most of my friends were courteous enough to comply, they did not like the “intrusion.”
RBB’s digital and social media manager Michelle Catin is right when she says that “Retweets are guided by the basic principles of public relations, and that’s relationship building.”
Retweets should not be an extension of the “scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours” principle. Retweets should remain a voluntary act, a result of sharing valuable information people can really benefit from.
Sure, ethical use of retweets is a difficult enterprise, considering what we might lose if we count on the chance that someone would just happen to notice our messages and even more, have the courtesy to RT. RTs bring a message in front of more Twitter users then our followers – this means more exposure, something marketers are obviously in need of.
The retweets are in fact the lifeblood of the network. Without them, Twitter would be less powerful, ordinary. People who “push” and “force” others to retweet are very aware of this power, but they are also perverting it. The inherent purpose of retweeting is to spread message of genuine value and general interest, and not to spread marketing articles and drive traffic to obscure sites. We’ve seen the power of the RTs in action so many times – if you look now on Twitter search (trending topics) and TweetMeme you’ll see some more obvious examples.
What worries me are services like uSocial that sell “followers”, like Twitpay that pay to retweet. These services kill the value of the network, kill its genuinity and will eventually kill the network’s true power of influence that derives from spontaneity and earnestness.