After seven months of hard work, I’ve finally achieved some notoriety on Twitter. Yes, I’ve got it all: the high Klout score, the adoring fans…Okay, maybe not. But what I do have is people direct messaging (DMing) me asking me to retweet their social media posts.

At first, I was flattered. I was finally living the dream of fame and fortune on Twitter. People saw me as influential, believing other people would read and listen to every pearl of wisdom that dropped from my fingertips.

Once I woke up from that delusion, I was left with a decision about what to do. Here are a few questions I consider when I decide whether or not to retweet by request:

  • My relationship with the person who asked: A client asks me to retweet? Done. A close friend, coworker, or someone I want to get to know  better? It’s very likely  I’ll retweet. But if we’ve only met once at a networking event, or worse yet, have never talked either online or off, you’d best present a compelling case.
  • The content of the tweet: If someone wants me to retweet a great link about social media, PR, or marketing, I’m usually more than happy to help. If someone wants a retweet about how we can all save puppies and kitties in my hometown, my heart will grow three sizes and I’ll retweet. But if your tweet is something totally off topic and it’s not interesting to me or my followers? Chances are slim.
  • How many times you’ve asked me to retweet: Twitter is all about helping people. Most of us share content we like without being asked. If I love your blog, I’ll retweet it every time a post strikes my fancy. But if you start sending me every post  you put up? Rebellion. I’m not your syndicating service.
  • How many other people have you asked to retweet the same message: We all like feeling special. Once, when I was getting the warm fuzzies about being asked to retweet a post, I saw many people in my stream retweeting it. Warm and fuzzies were gone, replaced with bitterness: He didn’t care about me at all, he just wanted to use me (and everyone else!) for my followers.

Maybe these steps seem a bit extreme to some people, but I value my followers. I want to provide them with content which is interesting, fun, and useful. If  I start cluttering up my stream with garbage, my followers will either leave or just discount everything I say. But this isn’t intended to scare you off: I love to help. Send a polite (preferably personalized) DM with a link that’s interesting or even vaguely in my area of interest, and you’ll find yourself rolling in the retweets.