Tuesday, 6 March 2012

The Slashfilm Retweet Experiment:
A Brief Note On Twitter Etiquette

The following post assumes a working knowledge of the vagaries of Twitter. If you're baffled by words like "retweet", "hashtag" and "@mention" you should probably go and read something else.

You may or may not be aware of my love/hate relationship with movie news website (I don't think they can honestly call themselves a blog any more) Slashfilm: I visit the site most days for their near-constant stream of movie news nuggets, but by crikey they make me pay for it. Day in, day out, they bombard me with anti-news about films that aren't being made still not being made, test the very limits of my sanity with unfathomable spelling, grammar and punctuation and force me to "read more after the jump", possibly the least welcome phrase on the internet (and lampooned to perfection here).

Recently, however, another crime of internet awfulness has begun to raise its ugly head, this time from Slashfilm's Twitter feed. By way of squeezing in a graph, here's a rough idea of the make-up of 24 hours' worth of tweets from the site's editor Peter Sciretta:
Now obviously I don't object to using your Twitter feed to drive traffic to your site (I'd be a massive hypocrite if I did), and given that 99.997% of what's on Twitter is pointless waffle I don't have a problem with that either. However, it's that final category that I feel needs addressing: the retweeting to Slashfilm's 63,500 Twitter followers of compliments from site users, a couple of which snuck out yesterday:
Let's just clear up a point of etiquette: there is NO EXCUSE for parping on your own trumpet by retweeting nice things somebody said about you on Twitter unless BOTH of the following criteria are met:
1. You have a tiny, insignificant web presence
2. The person making the compliment is a well-known public figure (note: this does not make the compliment more valid, just more interesting for other people to read).
If you're one of the world's biggest movie websites you don't need to tell everyone how great someone else thinks you are. It's a little bit unsavoury.

And so it was with a little mischief and a little alcohol coursing through my veins that, after seeing those retweets, I made my own contribution to the Slashfilm Ego Expansion Fund:
And sure enough, after a few minutes, the magic words were added to the tweet:
along with this disclaimer:
I don't quite know what to make of this. On the one hand I proved to myself that Slashfilm would literally retweet anything nice said about them, even if it's clearly complete bollocks, but at the same time Peter Sciretta claims to have retweeted my compliment because he "found it funny". So is he in on the joke or not?

The only way to find out is with a call to arms. So here's the thing: if you find yourself with a spare moment during the next few days, tweet @slashfilm with the most obsequious, over-the-top compliment you can muster, along with the hashtag #SRE (Slashfilm Retweet Experiment), and let's see just how far we can go before they get bored. I strongly suspect we've already reached that point, but what else are you going to do on Twitter today, talk about your disappointing sandwich?

Oh. OK. Fine.


  1. pretty sure i'm the only one what's done it so far

  2. And now I feel dirty...

  3. I have sent the following Tweet
    @slashfilm #SRE I have never ever gone near Slash Film and never want to. I would not want to defile perfection by even the smallest ripple.
    Is that the way to comply with your wish?