To #SaveReTweets, Make Sure Everyone Knows How to ReTweet

I wrote a little while ago about how Twitter’s plans to mangle ReTweets with its Project ReTweet, and the danger that poses to the crowd-invented functionality. After having several conversations on the topic and wondering what we could to do save ReTweets, I’ve come to the conclusion that the only thing to do is make sure that everyone knows how to ReTweet the original way. Then, once (or if) Twitter goes ahead with Project ReTweet, we can all continue to use the old format. If you like ReTweets, help save them by spreading this post around to ensure that everyone understands the commonly accepted method.

What is a ReTweet?

Normally, when you post a Tweet, only those people who are following you will see it. ReTweeting occurs when one of those followers copies your Tweet and posts it to their timeline. At that point, all of their followers will also see it. I’ve created an image below that explains this process.

How do I ReTweet?

The simplest way to ReTweet a post is to copy it from the original poster and paste it into the update box on your Twitter homepage. Here’s an example:


There are a few different ways people format ReTweets, but the most common way is this:

“@UserName” would be the username of the person who originally posted the Tweet you are ReTweeting and “original Tweet” is the text of that Tweet.

You can also add your own opinion of the content after the “original Tweet” text or before the “RT.” This is one of the most important things  the new Project ReTweet format is going to prevent.

Some people also use “h/t” (which stands for hat tip, from blogging) or “via.” Both of these standards are generally used when you are posting a link you found from someone else’s Tweet, but changing the text of the Tweet itself. RT is typically reserved for verbatim copies.

Many websites feature a little green and gray box (like the one at the top of this post) with a number and a button to “ReTweet.” If you’re reading something that you think your Twitter followers would like, just click the green button to share it with them. This isn’t a ReTweet in the sense described above, but the format is the same.

How do I ReTweet in a Third-Party Client?

You’ll also notice that down the right-hand-side of this post are screenshots from a variety of popular desktop and mobile Twitter applications. Each image shows you the app’s built-in one-click ReTweeting functionality. As you become a power user of Twitter, you’ll probably switch from using the Twitter.com web interface to one of these clients.

Want to Learn More?

If you’re interested in learning more about ReTweets, I’ve posted about ReTweet etiquette and the science behind how to get more ReTweets.

And remember: the only way to save ReTweets is to make sure everyone knows how to ReTweet.

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