Internet Etiquette: Retweets

Posted on June 4, 2012

One of my pet peeves is people using retweets the wrong way. However, this is (likely) due to bad habits. Before Twitter implemented a full retweet feature we commonly used: "RT @reply" and included the original post. Why is this such a problem today?

  1. Lack of credit: New retweets show the author's avatar. Using "RT @reply" can give the impression that another user created the original post.
  2. Redundancy: Using "RT @reply" acts as a normal tweet. This means users can crowd your timeline with the same tweet over and over.
  3. Unnecessary characters: Using "RT @reply" adds unnecessary verbiage to the original post. This could cut off the original tweet and truncate the content.
  4. Crowded Mentions: When you use "RT @reply" it will show up in the author's Mention list. This is only useful if you have something beneficial to add.

Using "RT @reply" incorrectly

A truncated RT on Twitter

Using "RT @reply" here truncates the original post, doesn't give complete credit, and crowds @coolguybojangy's Mentions with his own content.

Using "RT @reply" correctly

Proper use of the old RT method

This is the proper use of "RT @reply". The user gives constructive information back to the author and it shows up in @coolguybojangy's Mentions.

The best, standard way of retweeting a post

An effective RT on Twitter

If you have nothing constructive to add, using the new retweet method gives proper credit, avoids redundancy, doesn't add any useless characters, and keeps @coolguybojangy's Mentions squeaky clean.

Using a retweet is all about context. Keep in mind the author of the tweet as well as people following you on Twitter.