The Art Of The Retweet

The Art Of The Retweet

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If you’ve spent any time on Twitter, you may already have the Retweet mastered. If you’re unsure about Retweeting, or don’t do it often, it’s a great way to engage with others on Twitter, share high-quality information, and gain exposure to things you (and your Followers) might not have seen otherwise.

But did you know that there are a couple of different ways to Retweet (RT) someone? Depending on the way you use Twitter, you’ll want to be aware of the different methods and the subtle differences in reasons to choose one method over another.

Built-in Retweets

retweeticonBy far, the easiest way to RT someone is with the built-in Retweet option that Twitter provides. Whether you use Twitter from mobile or desktop versions, this icon is easy to find and will quickly pass along any Tweet you want to share to your Followers.

No additional characters are used in this type of RT’ing, and the only difference in the way the Tweet looks will be the fact that the RT icon shows up with the post, along with the profile image and name of the person you Retweeted. This RT will go into your stream like any other tweet.

What this RT method implies:

This type of RT means that you’ve enjoyed something that someone else shared, and it puts the emphasis equally on the text and the other Twitter user. The person you RT gets all the attention here.

The RT @username Methods

This type of RT is done by copying the Tweet you want to share, opening the “Compose new Tweet” box, typing in “RT” and then pasting in your copied text. You can also use 3rd party tools like Hootsuite to do this, too. When you select the Tweet that you want to RT from the Twitter feed within these tools, there will be an “Edit” option to add your “RT” text before you send the message.

This method will add 3 characters to your Tweet but it will appear as your other Tweets do when you send out a Tweet.

An alternate version of this is to give commentary in place of, or in addition to, the “RT.” It will add characters to your tweet. This might not be a problem, but pay attention to that. For instance, look at this example.

What this RT method implies:

This method does not take the original Twitter user’s profile image or name, just their username, so this method is often seen as a personal endorsement. You are giving your stamp of approval to this person AND their message at the same time. You are also engaging them in the Tweet by calling out the fact that you’ve Retweeted them with your endorsement. This is particularly true if you use personalized commentary in place of “RT.”

Via @username RT’ing

This is a hybrid method of RT’ing another post. There are many ways you might come across something interesting, but you may not want to send the Tweet exactly like you found it. You may want to point to the content without necessarily adding a personal endorsement. Or, you may want to emphasize something different in the content than the original Tweet did. Enter the “via RT” method.

As with the RT method above, you will need to edit the text before you send the RT. It may be that all you do is add “via @username” to the end of your Tweet, or you may want to edit something else, for instance, the title of the article, etc. but this method allows you to modify the original Tweet but cite your source at the same time.

Notice in the Tweet example above, I actually Retweeted someone who had used the “via @username” method to showcase someone else’s article. So, the image above shows both methods at once.

Some people use the “via @username” method over the built-in RT method because it does have the advantage of occasionally drawing out the original author in a Twitter conversation. This isn’t always the case, but because it takes a little more effort to do, it is more likely to get noticed by the original Twitter user. On the flip side, the “via @username” can often be overlooked by Twitter users. Case in point, in the example above, it would be easy to see my Tweet and credit @iagdotme with the message, but when you look more closely, the message I love is actually by @jeanniecw but @iagdotme found this for me!

What this RT method implies:

As you might expect, this method emphasizes the content in the tweet over the original Twitter user, so it’s not really an endorsement. It’s more of a look at something that prompted a reaction in you. It’s generally used to attribute your sources, and therefore it implies an objective look at a piece of content. It can prompt conversation if the author of the content wishes to engage with you, but not all Twitter users Reply to this type of mention because it’s only that, a Mention.

Without a doubt, the built-in, organic method of RT’ing is the most popular, largely because it’s the easiest method. But there is an art to going one step further with your RTs if you’re interested in doing so. Tweet this



About the Author

Camille RodriquezCamille Rodriquez is the founder and owner of Polka Dot Impressions. She speaks and writes regularly about social media marketing strategies and trends, and she is also the author of a Christian devotional titled, "When I Die - On Being, Living, and Having the Last Word."View all posts by Camille Rodriquez →