What Is A Retweet?

June 30, 2012
A retweet (RT) is a re-posting of a tweet with attribution to the user who first posted it. The general purpose of a retweet is to forward information, like an interesting news article, a quote, or a website, to your own followers without having to type a new post. Like #hashtags, retweeting is a quick and easy way to share information and is largely community-driven. A post that has been retweeted multiple times and accompanied by an appropriate hashtag could become a trending topic.

How to Retweet

Retweeting is very similar to a regular post only it is attributed to someone else. This is what a retweet looks like.

Notice that it appears just like a regular post only that it is highlighted by a 'retweeted by @username' attribution at the bottom. This distinguishes your own original posts from those you lifted from other users. The retweeter should be someone you follow. To increase your chances of getting retweeted, you can get more followers?to your own network. Another way to indicate that you have retweeted a post is to add an 'RT @username' at the start of the tweet. This isn't Twitter-sanctioned, but a lot of users have applied this to indicate a re-post. This way of retweeting is a lot like a @mention.

For example: RT @yodastarwars Do or do not; there is no try.

Note: You can only retweet a post that is the public domain. RTs of posts by users with protected tweets?cannot be retweeted and will not be visible. You will know if the post is protected if you see a 'lock' icon beside the sender's @username.

When to Retweet

There are no set rules on when you should retweet something, although the general principle is that when a post catches your eye and you'd like to share it to your followers, you re-post it. The usual reasons for a retweet are the following. - The post is noteworthy and interesting. - The post contains valuable and helpful information, i.e. emergency hotline numbers in a crisis. - The post contains an important announcement. - The post is inspiring. - The post is linked with an objective, such as the promotion of a product or compliance with independent Twitter-related contest rules. - You want your followers to be in on a conversation you are having with another user. A lot of the articles we find online will have a 'Tweet This' button at the bottom. Take note that you are not obligated to retweet everything that asks for a retweet. Deciding which to RT and which to skip is entirely your decision. So, if it doesn't interest you, or you think its self-serving, skip it. Read about Twitter etiquette.

Where to Find Retweets

You will find retweets done by you on your profile timeline, if you retweeted someone you follow. If you retweet someone you don't follow, it will appear both on your home timeline and profile timeline. Retweets by your followers will appear on your home timeline. To see your own tweets that others have retweeted, go to the Connect page in the top navigation bar. From the Interactions section, you will see all activity related to your tweets, which include posts that have been RTed and the users who retweeted them.

Take note that the people you have blocked will not be able to see your retweets. If your tweets are protected, those without access to your account will not be able to see the RTs either.

Turning Retweets Off

Some users can get trigger-happy with retweets, causing spam on your timeline. If you don't want to unfollow?someone but want to be spared from the mass of retweets he or she sends out all the time, you can turn off retweets for that specific user.

Select the person icon from the top right corner of that user's profile timeline. A drop-down menu will appear where you will have the option to stop seeing his or her tweets. Take note that this will apply to all of the user's tweets, not just the RTs. Once you have turned a user's tweets off, everything that he or she sends out from that point forward will no longer be visible to you. However, the tweets sent before this point will still be visible. You can only turn off tweets from specific users. There is no option to turn off all tweets from all users, so you will have to do this manually and selectively. A post can be retweeted as many times as everyone likes, but if you want to do a search, Twitter will only show the 100 most recent RTs of a post. The rest is available on its database.

Featured Resources


Connect on Twitter


Find us around the web

Lean Hashtags Facebook Hashtags Twitter Hashtags Google Plus image