Have you noticed people typing “RT” and the word “retweet” in their Twitter updates? Not sure what it means or what this Twitter retweet business is all about? Retweeting is the proper way to take a twitter post from someone else and forward it on to your followers. Retweeting is basically just rebroadcasting someone else’s tweet.

This tutorial will walk you through all the retweeting basics and teach you how to retweet yourself.

Requirements:

What does a Retweet look like?

If you like someone’s tweet and want to send it out to your followers, you should always let other users know that the message is a “retweet” and acknowledge the original tweeter.

For example, let’s look at the two tweets below. The top tweet is the original. The bottom tweet is a retweet from @WaltRibeiro from For Orchestra. Here’s a link to the tweet.


United Airlines Breaks Guitars

minted methodshop

The second tweet, or the retweet, begins with “RT” and then includes the original tweeter’s @username. Also, notice that the retweet includes some commentary from the retweeter “This is crazy. Never flying them ever #UAfail” and even the addition of the United Airlines Twitter username, @UnitedAirlines.

How do I Retweet?

There are several different ways to phrase a Twitter retweet. Twitter limits your tweets to only 140-characters, so most people prefer to use the letter leaner “RT” in their messages, but here are a few different ways to retweet a message:

Retweet Methods:

  • RT @originalsender: original message
  • retweet @originalsender: original message
  • retweeting @originalsender: original message
  • original message (via @originalsender)
  • Retweet button (introduced fall of 2009)

Here’s another example. It’s a Twitter retweet from @TheEmmys. They liked MethodShop’s tweet about a fire safety poster that instructs people to NOT use Twitter before evacuating.

Emmys Retweet
“In case of fire, do NOT use Twitter” @TheEmmys Twitter account retweets @methodshop

Why Retweet?

Don’t have millions of followers on Twitter? Who cares. Retweets are better. When someone retweets you, they like what you are saying. You are influential. An authority. Getting thousands of spammy marketing followers doesn’t really mean anything. Being an influential voice on Twitter does.

Also, remember retweeting expands the “reach” of your message. When someone retweets you, your message is being spread to that person’s followers. For example, let’s say you have 100 followers on Twitter. But @methodshop reads one of your tweets and retweets you to 4,000 followers. The reach of your original tweet just went from 100 to 4,100. So by being retweeted often, your tweets will get exposed to users who may not already follow you on Twitter.

Retweeting can also be a great way to add new followers. People may read a retweet of one of your messages, like it, and decided to follow you to get more of your tweets.

NERD NOTE: In addition to co-founding Twitter, Biz Stone is a designer and writer with a keen interest in personal publishing. Upon discovering the blog format in 1999, Biz embraced it and went to work cultivating the medium first as a creative consultant to various blog providers and associated projects including Xanga.com, Blogger.com, WebCrimson.com, and BlogBuddy. His Twitter handle is @Biz.

Tracking Your Twitter Retweets

Has someone retweeted you on Twitter? There are several ways to track your retweets.

Twitter Search – Twitter has a search tool that you can access at search.twitter.com. Do a search for “RT @methodshop” to see our retweets.

Twitter Search Of @methodshop Retweets
Twitter Search Of @methodshop Retweets
  • Retweet Radar: This service creates a word cloud of retweeted words, ranks the most retweeted users on Twitter and ranks the URLs that are being retweeted.
  • Retweetrank: Another tool that simply ranks the number of retweets twitter users have (not sure how up to date it is).
  • Retweetist: Retweetist will show you all your retweets and the days you were retweeted. It also has options to display the top Twitter users who have been retweeted and the top retweeted URLs.
Retweetist
Dashboard showing @methodsjop’s retweeted tweets over a 30 day period.

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