Anyone who has been on Twitter for an extended period of time has seen it. The RT (retweet) request.
Fans asking their favorite athlete or celebrity for an RT on their birthday or as their biggest fan. RTs are today’s version of the personal autograph. A personal memento or bragging rights for all internet eternity to see? Most likely it’s both.
They’re innocent. Harmless.
Unless, of course…
People tweeting professional athletes on Twitter begging for a RT are crying out for help,—
Bob Collins (@MyLittleBloggie) March 28, 2013
Autographs used to be a fairly innocent exchange. In days of old (long before my time), children would write letters to athletes or celebrities asking for an autograph. As time progressed, kids (and yes, adults too) would line stadium rails or player exits to ask personally for autographs. Signatures became gold helping lead to a boon in the sports memorabilia industry. Gold.
Figuratively, and sadly, literally.
But in today’s sports-social media landscape, the RT is today’s autograph.
RTd by Felix Hernandez
@RealKingFelix hey can I get a retweet? ⚾😁🙏—
Kyle (@kyle_lucksted) January 07, 2013
RTd by Michael Kay
RK Herndon (@blogal59) January 05, 2013
RTd by Vontae Davis
@VontaeDavis23 would mean alot if I could get a retweet from my favorite,best cornerback in the league#COLTS—
anthony tersigni (@TersigniT) January 04, 2013
There are fan requests:
@ChimChek can I get a RT I'm a big fan! Hope to see u more next year—
joseph gaytan (@Desert_Snail85) January 10, 2013
Just because requests:
@jsitton71 can I get a retweet because I asked?—
Trenton Schreiter (@tschreiter10) January 14, 2013
Help in promoting a website or cause:
@scottfujita99 Hey bud, this page is for ALL NFL fans. We discuss all types of football related subjects. Could you RT to help us out?—
The NFL Fan (@TheNFLFan) April 14, 2013
A need for recognition:
@RGIII your awesome!!! Please please notice meeee—
Reyna Cohen (@CohenReyna) March 25, 2013
Some athletes use it to their advantage (a review of Marshawn Lynch’s Twitter timeline shows a large number of RTs for fans):
Nick Andron (@nandron) March 29, 2013
While some athletes don’t quite “get it”:
Ppl really say that their lives are complete when I tweet them. REALLY. what's going on in yall lives. I'm human just like y'all are—
Adam Jones (@SimplyAJ10) February 28, 2013
Is there any harm in asking for an RT? No.
It may clog up people’s timelines but there are ways to avoid this (turn off retweets or use TweetDeck filters to name two). Is there a way for fans to profit off of it? Not for the forseeable future.
Until then, this story from the Washington Post puts Twitter and autographs in a whole new light.
What do you think?