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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Tuesday Tantrum: Tagging people on Twitter without their permission. #spam





This is the exact wording of a DM I got recently on Twitter: "Hey. Would it be alright if I tag you in promo tweets for my novels?" First of all, thanks for starting your DM with a greeting. 

Second, I have to give the author credit. S/He did ask if s/he could do it. If an author has permission, I suppose it's like having an email list. You update your fans on what's going on: when new books come out, when books go on sale, and the like.

And for those that don't have email or don't use it as much as the normal person, this might be a valuable service. Get direct updates from your favorite authors by being tagged on Twitter.

There's another time to tag someone with a promo tweet: to encourage that person to retweet. My question is simple: does it really work? Do you get retweets as intended?


There are much better ways to encourage engagement. In regards to tweets, try this.

Ask for a Retweet
Please RT. My book is on sale. www.example.com
Retweet please. My book is on sale. www.example.com
Retweets are appreciated. My book is on sale. www.example.com
My book is on sale. www.example.com #RT
There's probably other ways of doing the same thing, but the above gives you an idea.

If you have permission, the story is different. Perhaps you have some loyal fans who don't mind being tagged and gladly retweet as requested. Being tagged in a promo tweet to try and get you to buy, though ... well, that's another animal all together.

When I get tagged at the end of a tweet, that makes a little bit more sense. What baffles me most is when authors tag me first. Then I go and check their feed. 

They have done the exact same thing dozens of times. 

Probably more. I've never scrolled that far down to check. Even the most conservative definitions of spam would include that example.


Besides, doing that seems like a waste of time. If you simply ask for a retweet, you'd probably get far more retweets than if you tag everyone and their dog. 

Unless you can find a retweet-loving dog.



I don't tag people in tweets like that. The only ones I tag are the authors I promote, and I usually only do it a few times. I use to do it with just about every promo tweet, thinking I was helping out. But some authors complained that their mentions tab was being overrun, so I scaled way back. Authors are still tagged quite a bit, just not as much as before.

Of course, I get tagged in promo tweets all the time. But this is the first time I've ever been asked permission.

In the end, I don't really have a problem with the question the author asked in the DM. That's not what this tantrum is all about. The very act of asking the question makes the situation a lot less volatile. However, to answer the author's question, "No, please don't tag me in your promo tweets."



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