Getting a celebrity to forward on one of your 140-character outpourings to their legions of followers, also known as the retweet, has become the 21st century’s answer to the plain old autographed photo.
It may not be worth much if it were ever auctioned on eBay, but then kudos in front of your friends and followers is something money can’t buy.
Indeed, those who get retweeted often see their own numbers swell, with other fans under the belief that the person who sent the tweet must be worth following in their own right.
But how to get one? Celebrities are inundated with requests for retweets, and as the golfer Ian Poulter tweeted to his masses: “If I retweeted everyone who asked me 4 a retweet I would be doing [it] 24 hours a day.”
Kim Kardashian seems to take a random approach to the constant flow of requests from her almost 17 million followers. On December 2, it did not seem to take much. The star simply retweeted @chellydeee when she asked: “what does a girl have to do to get a tweet/retweet/follow from you?!”
Others are more discriminating.
“I think if someone amuses me or they say something really sweet or something I find really interesting or cool,” says the actress and singer Victoria Justice. “It could be anything.”
Mary Elizabeth Winstead, the actress best known for Die Hard 4.0 and Death Proof, has amassed more than 57,000 followers, yet admits the “retweet” phenomenon is rather frustrating. “I don’t like people yelling at me through Twitter – like ‘Retweet me!’ I think it’s horrible. I think it’s so rude. I think it’s changing the way people look at celebrities in a way that freaks me out a little bit. I think people are feeling they can say or do whatever they want and expect a lot more… and when you don’t respond, [people] start getting bitter and angry and start sending you angry tweets, and that’s not nice.”
Kristen Bell, the actress whose title role in Forgetting Sarah Marshall has helped her accrue more than 880,000 followers, concurs. “I don’t understand what they gain,” she sighs. “I don’t really retweet anyone I don’t want to retweet, and if you just ask for a retweet, I don’t really understand why I should be retweeting it. The whole thing is a little bit confusing to me. If I think something is really funny and I laughed out loud at it, and I think others would enjoy it, that’s when I would retweet it. I’m not just going to retweet some idiot who just says ‘Hey, retweet me!’ Hey, guess what, bro? You need to give me a reason! Write something funny and I will retweet you.”