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Posts Tagged ‘RT’

Where Does The “RT” Go In A Retweet?

The structure of a tweet is a bit of an enigma for plenty of Twitter newbies. And a retweet? Even more confusing.

But there are a few best practices when it comes to formatting your retweets, and they’re actually very simple once you get the hang of them.
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Does MT Clarify Retweets Or Add To The Confusion?

Following up on our post about retweets implying some form of endorsement, we wanted to take a closer look at an increasingly popular abbreviation that folks use on Twitter: MT or “modified tweet.” Is this handy little abbreviation helping us clarify our retweets or is it just adding to the confusion?
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Why A “Neutral Retweet” Doesn’t Work

This week, journalists on Twitter have been feverishly discussing the new AP guidelines for retweeting. In a nutshell, the AP outlined how journalists should retweet without endorsing the original tweet – but many thought their method was archaic, out of touch or just plain strange.

Enter Poynter’s Jeff Sonderman. Sonderman put forward a suggestion that journalists use “NT” to mean “neutral retweet” when they want to eliminate bias in their retweeting. But despite his best intentions, this was received as a joke, at best, or inane at worst.
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New AP Guidelines For Retweets: No Opinions Allowed From Journalists

The Associated Press has issued new social media guidelines that target their journalists’ tweeting.
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POLL: Which Kind Of Retweet Do You Do?

When Twitter’s internal retweet system (code-named Project Retweet) launched late last year I was one of a number of people who was resistant to the development. I’d grown accustomed to the original retweet (RT @ or via) and being unable to edit messages to add your own flavour was a major drawback of the new mechanism.

Things change. Over time I found myself using the new system, first on a very occasional basis but later with increased frequency. I’ve also noticed that other users appear to be retweeting my stuff more and more using the new-style RT – veterans and newcomers alike.

Sometimes, a tweet is so good that all you need to do is hold it up for other people to see. Twitter’s retweet button works perfectly here.

For certain occasions I still prefer the original RT, or more commonly via, which had always been my share method of choice. I don’t think I’ll ever go completely over to the dark side until Twitter gives us at least some edit options, even if it’s just for the free characters in the tweet.

But what about you? Are you sticking hard-and-fast to the old school retweet, or did you move straight over to Twitter’s method? Perhaps, like me, you do a bit of both? Or maybe you don’t retweet at all.

Whatever your answer, please vote in the poll below, and hit the comments to share your thoughts with me.

[poll id="15"]

Lessons In Twitter Etiquette – Is It Okay To Remove Typos And Spelling Errors From Retweets?

This is potentially tricky. Particularly so for brands.

Somebody – let’s call them a potential customer – mentions your brand or product favourably on Twitter, either openly or in a linked review. You want to retweet to thank them, but there’s a problem – their tweet contains a stinker of a typographical error, and the Grammar Nazi purist in you can’t bring yourself to retweet without a little creative editing.

But is this the right thing to do?

Of course, if you’re using Twitter’s internal retweet system, you have absolutely no way to edit the tweet, and everything goes out entirely as is.

However, if you’re a little old-school, and like to use the original retweet method, then this does present a dilemma. And it’s not just for brands, either. Tons of great links on Twitter are accompanied by really lousy prose.

So, what’s the solution? What’s fair? It largely depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. Some people don’t pay much attention to the quality of their prose, spelling and grammar, and likely wouldn’t notice (or care) if you made a minor correction to their tweet.

Others will notice, and might take offense. This could potentially hurt your relationship. After all, they’ve said something nice, but it seems that all you care about is that they used ‘there’ instead of ‘their’.

Others still care WAY too much about the quality of tweets, taking it to vigilante levels, and crazy as this might seem, if you don’t show an acceptable level of care in what you allow into your timeline you risk impacting those relationships, too.

Here’s my tip – if in doubt, it’s better to change everything than just one thing.

What I mean by that is if you want to retweet something and give the original poster the proper credit (as you should), but there’s a grammatical or spelling mistake in there that physically brings you pain, then

  1. Seek medical help, but first
  2. Rather than just fixing the one or two words they screwed up (thus risking an emotional retort), rewrite the entire headline copy from scratch and simply credit them as normal at the end of the message (perhaps with the via hat-tip, which is my personal preference)

People do this all the time, so nobody is going to object if they see you doing this. You’re still giving credit, and that great link is now getting more attention. However, if your only visible change is to remove an unnecessary apostrophe from it’s, you should be aware that, silly as it may well seem, the original poster might take offense. And perhaps with good reason.

PS. Almost without fail, the absurdity of a typographical error in a tweet is always directly proportional to how many times it has been retweeted before it is noticed. Happens often enough to me that they might as well call it Bennett’s Law. Still, it can’t hurt to try and make everything perfect.

Want To Get Re-Tweeted? Memorise Your Number (Reloaded)

Back in March I wrote an article that explained how you needed to ensure that you left a certain amount of characters at the end of your tweets if you wanted to seriously improve your chances of being retweeted.

This is the mathematics:

Your Number = length of username + five characters

To give yourself the best possible chance of a retweet, you need to make sure you leave this many characters free.

In the article I noted that my own number was 12. When sharing links and content, I always ensure I leave a minimum of 12 characters at the end of each and every tweet. This is a great habit to adopt. Otherwise, those wanting to retweet you are forced to edit your submissions so that they can give the proper credit. Because f this extra work, many times, they simply won’t bother retweeting you at all.

Worse, your prose can be severely impacted – personally, I hate it when somebody trims down my carefully-worded remark into something that (shudder) looks like text speak. Everybody who reads that now thinks that I write in text speak. The horror, the horror…

As said, I’m always very careful to leave the necessary 12 characters. Recently, however, I started to notice that despite this effort, a few were still editing my prose to fit it all in. At first, I couldn’t understand why they felt the need to do this – after all, I’d made every attempt to ensure that my update could be easily retweeted.

Then it suddenly hit me – they weren’t using Twitter’s more common RT. They were using via.

What’s quite tragic about all of this is I use via, too. That’s pretty much all I use. I like via because it places the emphasis on the content first, and credits the original poster second. Content is king, but it’s also important that credit is given where due.

But it’s not all roses, as via adds an extra couple of characters to each retweet. Typically, via is credited within parentheses, like this:

Want To Get Re-Tweeted? Memorise Your Number (Reloaded)

Because of those parentheses (and the space before the first), I (@Sheamus) actually need to leave a heady 15 characters of blank space in my updates to give myself the best possible chance of a retweet.

Jack Schofield, using the example above, needs to leave 21.

Hence, the mathematics has changed.

Your Number = length of username + eight characters

This is the absolute minimum amount of space you should always leave at the end of each and every tweet. Particularly if you’re sharing linked content or an important message.

That’s assuming, of course, you actually want the world to see it.

So You Want To Get Retweeted? Sharpen Your Pencil

Some basic steps:

  1. Find unique and interesting content. If you’re amongst the first to break a story, it’s going to be noticed (and picked up) by others. Constantly track and scan the social bookmarking sites and major news feeds. Configure iGoogle so this is something you can do in less than a minute.
  2. Craft the tweet with care. Sell the story. Your prose should be as good as you can possibly make it. More often than not the existing headline will be sufficient to explain the content, but that doesn’t mean you can’t (or shouldn’t) put a little spin on it. You have to make people want to click on that link. If it’s ambiguous most will be cautious, and if you lie or try to trick others, the majority won’t click on anything you say again. A little spit and polish goes a long way. Humour works brilliantly. Memorise your retweet number.
  3. Use bit.ly to shorten your link and track the data. For your own website, add the Tweetmeme button.
  4. If you’re trying to get your own stuff retweeted, follow the same guidelines as above, but adopt a fair ratio of submitting your personal content against everything else. For example, tweet out only one of your blog posts to every nine or so you do for external links. Tip: there’s nothing wrong with re-submitting your stuff several days, weeks or months later, as long as it remains relevant and useful. Remember that at any given time, only a small percentage of your network will be logged on to Twitter and/or even notice your latest update in their timeline. But bombarding your network with just your content multiple times per day wins few friends.
  5. Be consistent. It doesn’t matter if you’re a Twitter Jack of all trades or focus entirely on one niche, but few react well to those who continuously do 180s.

If you get into the habit of being interesting and remarkable, it’s amazing how quickly you’ll grab the attention of others. The best way to do this on Twitter is by sharing great content, and thanks to the ripple effect provided by the retweet mechanism, your great submission has the potential to reach everybody. Literally.

When Is A Re-Tweet Not A Re-Tweet? When It’s Something I Never Actually Said

The re-tweet is one of the backbones of the Twitter system and it plays a significant part in making links, and the sites and articles that they lead to, go ‘viral’. The ripple effect of a message getting re-tweeted throughout the network is a beautiful thing to see, and if you’re the recipient of all that resulting traffic, a reason for some celebration.

However, you have to be careful. I’m not a subscriber to the notion that suggests it’s poor etiquette to alter the existing prose when doing a re-tweet, but I do think you have to make distinctions between what the original poster (OP) said, and anything you have added yourself.

On several occasions I’ve seen things that I’ve never actually said ‘re-tweeted’ in my name, simply because the re-tweeter changed all the words but left the RT @Sheamus part alone. Often this is an accident on their part, and it can end up with amusing consequences.

Or far more severe ones; like the @reply, you could do a lot of damage to a person’s reputation with a series of re-tweets if you intentionally set out to make an individual ‘say’ things that they never did. Not only does this bad information go out to everybody in your network but, perhaps ironically, thanks to further re-tweets, it has the potential to quickly spread to millions of people.

RT @KarlRove I was rooting for Obama all the way!

This is why I use and recommended the via tag over the RT. For me – and I accept this might be a personal view – the RT should, for the most part, be a literal re-posting of the original message. If you tamper with it, I think you need to do everything you can to ensure that your words are clearly separate from the OP’s. More often than not the RT @Username part comes first, right at the beginning of the message, and I think that the words that follow are seen by the majority as coming from that user.

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So, You Want A Re-Tweet Button On Twitter.com?

Twitter.com commands just an estimated 32 per cent of all Twitter activity, which is incredibly low when you think about. Imagine if Facebook boasted that kind of share for their 200-million strong audience; people would be talking. And with complete justification.

(This low number also, incidentally, explains in part the recent hype – and reaction – to Twitter’s 60% drop-off rate amongst new users, as Nielsen, who took the measurements, only accounted for Twitter.com, and not all the external clients, which make up the bulk of all interactions with the service, certainly from seasoned members.)

There’s a good reason why – Twitter.com is an entirely limiting way to interact with the Twitter stream. That statement, true as it is, is pretty insane for any website, let alone a social media platform. Somehow, Twitter gets away with it; at least, for now.

Even the most basic functionality from the site is missing. I’ve discussed recently on this blog the importance of the re-tweet, an event that takes place millions of times a day within the Twitter stream. So frequently, in fact, that’s it’s an accepted part of the experience, but Twitter.com, despite many upgrades, hasn’t considered it significant enough to provide us with a re-tweet button. Has the world gone mad?

Perhaps, but there is a solution. In fact, there are three.

Why Do We Need A Re-Tweet Button?

If you’re unsure of the significant of the re-tweet, please read my article, “In Defense Of The Re-Tweet.

Okay, like me, you might predominately use TweetDeck or a different Twitter client for all your networking. That’s great, even admirable. But think of everybody else. Lots of folk have to use Twitter.com – maybe they’re restricted at work, or their computer isn’t powerful enough to run an external client.

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