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Posts Tagged ‘RT’

In Defense Of The Re-Tweet

There’s been some talk of late in blogs and on Friendfeed that the humble re-tweet might be, in fact, at best stupid, worse, a nuisance. As Louis Gray writes in his piece:

“Twitter is a land where 140 characters is all you’ve got to express yourself. If you think you don’t have enough interesting data to share 140 characters of your own, but instead need to piggyback on someone else’s tweet, then maybe you should rethink why you’re using the service.”

Louis earlier suggested that begging for re-tweets is lazy; that repeating what somebody else has said doesn’t add anything to the conversation.

He isn’t alone; Dave Winer and others this week have been beating the re-tweet into submission, suggesting that what Twitter needs is the ‘like’ service that other social networks use (Friendfeed, Digg, Reddit etc).

While I agree that there are right and wrong ways to re-tweet submissions – or, indeed, to ask for them to be re-submitted from your followers – I think completely dismissing the re-tweet is misguided. It serves a purpose on Twitter that makes it unique to that platform.

The Re-Tweet

The Re-Tweet Gives Credit

However you choose to re-submit a tweet – using RT, re-tweet or via (I will address the differences later) – it’s important that credit is given to the original poster. The re-tweet does this effectively and with a minimal waste of characters.

Additionally, the re-tweet is (or should/can be) an endorsement of the person, too. When I re-tweet somebody I’m fairly mindful about whom it is I’m re-tweeting. Even the most obnoxious ass is capable of at least one good tweet, much like every amateur is capable of one pro golf shot. It doesn’t mean the rest was up to par. I take that into consideration when I RT; I’m saying to you, this content is good, and this is a good guy.

Because you give credit, the original poster has an excellent chance of picking up some new followers and meeting some new folk. And vice versa.

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Want To Get Re-Tweeted? Memorise Your Number

Getting a re-tweet (RT) on Twitter not only feels pretty good but can go a long way to driving more traffic to your blog or website (or anywhere else that you care to recommend).

An example of a re-tweet

Problems can occur if your tweet is too long for the reader to comfortably RT. You have to remember that each RT automatically adds a string of characters to your original tweet. These include the length of your username, and five additional characters: the ‘RT’, the space after that, the ‘@’ symbol before your name, and the space afterwards.

RT_@Sheamus_The original tweet goes in here...

If you stretch your tweet out too close to the maximum 140 characters, the re-tweeter will often have to perform some crafty editing to ensure your name and those other essential characters fit within the limit of their tweet. This can be undesirable for you; because of this, sometimes key nuances and tone can be lost and occasionally your links can be accidentally edited or changed.

There’s an easy formula you can learn that takes the pain out of ensuring your tweet has a good chance of an RT and makes it a lot easier for your followers to handle.

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