I love retweets. Retweets are why we all started doing comedy. It’s your friends in school egging you on to recite a scene from "The Simpsons" in the cafeteria, it’s making someone you like who is out of your league gut-laugh. It’s affirmation that you aren't fucking crazy. There are others like you. They are the Internet, and they adore you.
But the retweet has a mortal enemy: the favorite. The favorite is cowardly. It’s a little passive aggressive star you click that says: “I liked your tweet, but only in private. Let's keep this between us, like the time the hot girl kissed you over summer break and then ignored you in school so you sent her a VHS of 'A Walk to Remember.'”
Listen to me, serial tweet-favoriter: I didn’t jam those two unrelated topical news stories together for a favorite. I didn’t devise a terrible pun, combined with a “Saved by the Bell” reference, for people to savor privately, like a bunch of addicts nursing painkillers. THE WORLD MUST KNOW THAT I HAVE THOUGHTS ON BITCOIN.
Is this bitter tirade cause I want to be verified? Maybe. Will hundreds of you garbage-monsters favorite this ironically? Also maybe. But still: This is not just the lament of one angry tweeter. There are bigger issues here.
Our media is sometimes too busy giving out hand jobs at the White House Press Correspondents’ Dinner to cover issues that affect us. Who’s on "Meet the Press" this week? Oh, just every old white guy who started every bullshit war trying to start another bullshit war. Not even with a warning under his name like “William Kristol, Weekly Standard, Wrong on Iraq, not to be trusted.”
So you go to Twitter.
Suddenly it’s not a white power genocidal circle jerk. It’s people who look like you and think like you. It's people who think David Gregory sucks. It's as cathartic as it is hilarious. It is redemption.
You get to hear the voices the media leaves out. You can see people saying, “Hey, how about no wars?” “When will this show bring on a woman?” “Isn’t John McCain dead? No? Good for him!” Then you will write something about "Meet the Press." You will @ Meet The Press. You will get 100 favorites. One hundred people that agree with you! The beginning of a revolution! But what does “Meet the Press” see? Thirty sad retweets from brave soldiers whose men abandoned them to go to Shake Shack.
Sometimes you are getting slammed with Twitter threats and it’s cool to have an online army come in and rescue you. Your retweet is like a far-less-cool bat signal.
Twitter, after all, is for validation. For collecting thousands of fake friends to make up for your lack of real friends. For finding people who agree with you and if they don't, reporting them as spam.
I cannot tell you how many times I’ve burned bridges by attacking someone more powerful than me on Twitter, only to have other journalists favorite or direct message me to say, “Glad someone finally called that guy out.” Hey! Two people could call him out if you want! You just DM’d me. You agree with me, you know what Twitter is, and you can type. You have the tools.
Now, some people can’t risk their jobs, some people are scared future employers may see their Twitter, and some people just don’t think you’re funny enough to put into their feed. I get it. You’re cowards. (I’m sorry.)
What I’m saying is this: I care about you. I believe in you, my serial-favoriter friend. I believe you can step it up. I believe you can be brave. I believe that every time you click “retweet” instead of that little weiner favorite “star,” it will remind you of a shameful past filled with lies and secrets. You will retweet with confidence. You will @ David Gregory and say, “Hey. Gregory. You suck.” Then close your computer, glowing with pride. When a campaign to call out some racist shitlord starts, and it gets retweeted, then retweeted, then retweeted, and then comes to a dead halt with someone’s favorite, that favorite won’t be yours. You will be a stone-cold retweeting machine.
You can only lurk in the shadows for so long.
’Cause I saw you, Guardian columnist who favorited my “Fuck the media” tweet. I saw you, edgy club comic who favorited my tweet about “listening to the Glee soundtrack and crying.” I know who you are, I know what you favorite. Show some humanity, show some heart, and dammit: retweet my shit.