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What Is A ReTweet (RT)? The Superhero Of Tweets

posted by Alicia in Twitter

superhero twitterThe ReTweet (RT for short) is one of six types of tweets but has 100 x more force.

It’s the superhero of tweets and has amazing powers that other tweets just don’t have.

Admittedly, it’s a bit tricky to get your head around but let’s break it down…

What Is An RT?

The act of ReTweeting is when you take someone else’s tweet and forward it to your followers while crediting the source.

This RT is seen by you, the person who sent the original message and your followers.

That means their tweet is seen by an entirely new audience. You extend their reach in the Twitterverse and it paves the way for them to connect with other likeminded tweeters.

This simple act of sharing is mighty generous. Consider how many tweets are sent a day, and how many go through your newsfeed. For you to pick one that you feel is worth your time and endorse it to others is a great compliment to the originator of the tweet. (Every compliment deserves a thank you, so when it’s your turn to get RTd remember to give thanks).

Thanks for the RT

Equally, through your recommendation you announce to your followers that ‘this message is worth a look’ and the tweet is immediately propelled in stature. That’s because we are much more likely to take notice of an endorsement from someone we know.

The Anatomy Of An RT

There are two types: the original manual RT and the automatic RT.

You’re probably wondering why this is. It’s because RTing started as a user generated trend that got SO powerful and popular Twitter decided to include it as an official feature. Having two types of RTs can make things even more confusing especially as there are big differences between the two…

Here’s How You Spot An RT

1. The Original RT

Before Twitter created the auto RT, tweeters relied on the manual RT which consists of copying and pasting the original message.

Most social media manager tools (like Hootsuite) give you the option to easily create the original RT with one click. This plus their unwavering popularity is why they still exist.

You can identify an original RT because the message will start with ‘RT’ followed by a username, like the image below:

RT with sentiment included
Breakdown: Jon Holloway (@jonthedots) has manually RTd @Greenwellys original tweet and added his own message (highlighted in yellow).

The benefit of the original RT is that you can include your own sentiment or opinion to the message, just like Jon has, plus the message displays your profile picture (this is good because other tweeters recognise you in their newsfeed as the retweeter of the message, raising your profile).

The Auto RT

This is the quickest way to RT – it’s a 1-click process – easy! It’s the feature adopted by Twitter.com in 2009.

This option doesn’t allow you to edit the original message, and when it appears in the newsfeed the originator’s profile picture is displayed (which can be confusing as people often wonder why an unrecognisable profile has crept into their newsfeed) and your name is included below the message ‘ReTweeted by [name]’, like this one:

automatic RT
Breakdown: Anne Samoilov RTd Marie Forleo (@marieforleo) using the auto RT. Marie’s profile picture is displayed as the source and Anne is credited below the tweet.

When Do You RT?

Normally you’d RT a tweet if you think it would be of interest to your followers (like a Share on Facebook). That could be

  • A useful article – someone else’s (you wouldn’t normally RT your own article but there is an exception to this rule, explained below)
  • A breaking news story
  • Something funny or inspirational – like a quote or really funny joke, video or photo
  • News of an amazing event or super special offer

But there are other uses:

  • to keep the context of a conversation (although this is not used as often these days because it’s much easier to see the conversation thread than it used to be)
  • for a little sprinkle of PR or self promotion (this should be done sparingly and with caution)

A sprinkle of PR in a ReTweet
Breakdown: Alyssa Aldersley (@alyssaaldersley) has manually RTd my original endorsement/thank you tweet and added her text (highlighted in yellow) – a subtle sprinkle of self promotion shows some PR savvy.

Six Big Benefits, One Action

RTing has lots of benefits all rolled in to one action:

  1. You’re agreeing (or disagreeing) with the sentiment in the message (so people get to know you better)
  2. Sharing useful stuff with your followers (which makes you an interesting person to connect with)
  3. Showing your generosity (and people like that as a trait so it raises your like and trust factor)
  4. Aligning yourself with the originator of the tweet (this can boost your kudos, while getting you noticed by people you want to connect with. For example, the originator of the tweet)
  5. Being seen in the newsfeed of your followers (this raises your profile)
  6. And, for the times when you haven’t got anything interesting to say (it’s ok, we’ve all been there) it gives you something to tweet!

See? A Superhero tweet! RTing is a cool thing to do, and when someone RTs your tweet you can benefit from these RT superpowers too.

To learn the two ways to ReTweet, take a look at this short video: How to ReTweet

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