Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Retweet the old fashioned way, using 'classic' or 'traditional' retweets only

Updated Sept. 3, 2013

Ironically, the most important feature on Twitter is one that Twitter itself did not develop, and has never adopted: the traditional retweet.

It was developed by the customers, on their own, and not by the company. And amazingly, to this date Twitter itself has never incorporated it, although doing so would be as easy as pie.

My advice to all Twitter users is that you should not use what Twitter calls a "retweet". It is a counterfeit, and does not have any of the key properties of a retweet. Just skip it.

The true, traditional "retweet" is the life blood of Twitter, and what has set it apart from other similar "microblogging" services. [See my blog post "The awesomeness of the RT" : http://is.gd/4PFbJ ]

Here's how to do a traditional retweet if you're accessing Twitter at twitter.com:

1. Copy and paste the message and name of person sending it to you.

2. Precede it by "RT @" [type "RT", then a space, then a @. It's important that the @ and the name NOT have a space between them].

I.e. it should start out like this: "RT @Username "

[Easier way: If you're using Firefox or Chrome as your browser, you can use the "Classic Retweet" button supplied by Jon Pierce's add-on "Classic Retweet 1.0". If you're set up with that, all you've got to do is hit the "Classic RT" button instead of the fake "retweet" button.]

It may be even easier if you're using a Twitter "client" or application.

If you're using Tweetdeck, Seesmic, UberTwitter, Plume, Janetter, Echofon, Tweetlist, or any of the other myriad "clients" and applications which support Twitter and other microblogging platforms, many provide a way to incorporate the "traditional retweet" as your retweet method of choice. Each uses different terminology, sometimes quite peculiar, such as e.g. "quote", "edit and reply", "Edit and RT", "retweet with comment", etc., and many do not allow you to set up classic retweets as your preferred, default method, but do allow you to choose the classic retweet when you're actually doing the retweet. If your app doesn't enable you to do classic retweets, you should consider replacing it with an app that does.

E.g., in Tweetdeck for Chrome, if you want to do a classic or traditional retweet, after you click the retweet icon you get a choice: "Edit and RT" or "Retweet". ALWAYS choose "Edit and RT" even if you have no intention of "editing". And you'll have a traditional, classic retweet [I usually do NOT edit, but know that I must check the "Edit and RT" option to get a true retweet, rather than a pseudo-retweet].

What's wrong with the thing Twitter mislabels a "retweet"

(1) You can't insert a comment, start a conversation, or join a conversation;
(2) you can't edit;
(3) instead of showing your avatar, it shows the avatar of the original tweeter, which might be someone your followers don't know or have any relationship with;
(4) it prevents you from seeing multiple versions with different comments from different people;
(5) if someone retweets you, it is difficult for you to learn that they did, you will have to go outside your conversational thread [e.g., on twitter.com, you have to wade through your "interactions" to see which of them are twitter-fake-retweets];
(6) if you retweet people, they will never learn that you did, unless they go through that same investigative process; i.e, except for the commercial accounts which use analytics & care a lot about the number of retweets, they will probably never learn that you retweeted them;
(7) your so called "retweets" either will not show up, or will show up in an inferior way, in Tweetdeck or any other Twitter "clients" or applications, and if they do show up, will not prominently display YOUR icon (they will prominently display only the icon of the author of the original tweet);
(8) a fake retweet has no URL and is therefore not searchable. It has no separate identity. It has no identity in, and will not show up in, any kind of twitter search, such as keyword and hashtag searches. Examples of how this undercuts the value of your twitter experience are too numerous to mention, but a stream come to mind.*
(9) you won't be found when people are looking for people to follow with similar interests;
(10) the identities of intermediate tweeters will never be known;
(11) in many instances, to the extent your identity is recognized at all by the recipients, they can't reply to you, or retweet you, or DM you, and may not even be able to verify your user name;
(12) it eliminates discussion;
(13) when the pseudo "retweet" is itself retweeted, whether by rubber stamp retweet or by traditional retweet, you won't be mentioned at all,
(14) if you want to be part of a "hashtag" "trending" event, your pseudo retweets have no impact, since they're not considered separate tweets... only classic retweets will count.

In sum, it takes the "social" out of "social media" by [a] eliminating conversation and interaction, [b] insisting on blind rubber stamping, [c] preventing you from letting your friends know you've honored them, [d] preventing you from knowing your friends have honored you, [e] making you invisible, [f] making it harder for you to meet new friends with similar interests, and [g] removing any clear indication of your identity to your existing friends.

One of the primary uses of the traditional retweet is not to 'repeat' something at all, but to start or continue a conversation, with 2, 3, sometimes even 4 or 5 people participating in a single tweet. In this type of classic retweet, you're repeating something in order to preserve the conversational thread. Here are a couple of everyday examples from some good conversationalists, who use traditional "retweets" as conversation:


The people who engage in such conversations are the people having the most fun of all on Twitter and are the coolest communicators here.

Twitter's pseudo retweet makes such engagement and interaction impossible.

Twitter's management thinks Twitter is for information only and is not supposed to be "social", and that a retweet is for the purpose of repeating, or rubber stamping, the original tweet.

Why did Twitter do this?

My guess is that it has to do with appealing to Twitter's "business" customers (read "paying" customers) -- corporations, celebrities, social media professionals, major news media -- who do not themselves retweet but who wish to be retweeted by others, making it easier to quantify their "impressions", and to enhance their visibility at the expense of the rest of us. Twitter thinks it can make more money from its advertising [euphemistically termed "promoted tweets"] by being able to quantify the number of repetitions they receive.

If you fall into the trap, your interactivity with your friends is shattered, and your visibility to your friends is removed.

Even the "paying" customers for whose benefit this was done are being screwed, although they may not realize it. Instead of becoming a part of the Twitter conversation, they're just getting the same type of paid advertising spam they could have bought anywhere else. And if they do get rubber stamped, they're being 'rubber stamped' by the least experienced, least visible, least influential, people on twitter -- since those of us who are knowledgeable are likely to avoid touching the rubber stamp button like the plague.


This is my advice:

1. Don't use Twitter's so called retweet function.... ever.

2. Use genuine, traditional retweets only.

3. Configure any twitter apps which you may be using to do traditional, rather than 'rubber stamp', retweets. If yours cannot readily be configured to do that, drop it and use one that can. Period. [see "How to set up your twitter apps (or "clients") to do traditional retweets rather than rubber stamp retweets"].

Some people ask "what if the original tweet is too long"? I say that if you really can't shorten it, edit it, or use a "longer tweet" service, then forget it. Why punish your followers by injecting spam into their stream? Your followers are looking for stuff from you, not from strangers. Stuff from strangers, which they didn't ask for and don't recognize, has a name: it's called s.p.a.m. [When people complain that they've been seeing a lot of tweets in their stream from people they don't recognize, that's because of peeps using twitter's rubber stamp button]. 

The "length" problem should become less and less of a problem, as automatic "elongated tweet" features become more and more available. For example, see Twitlonger and Twtmore

* [a] In the 2010 round of Shorty Awards voting, people were advised that one way to vote was by retweeting. The retweet votes were retrieved through Twitter search with the aid of Twitter hashtags. Apparently none of the votes lodged by the "fake retweet" button were counted, since the tweet had no URL, hence no identity, of its own. It is unclear what votes were or were not counted in the 2011 Shorty Awards. [b] Many tweeters, and many internet twitter applications, use keyword searches in Twitter search to find new people to follow who share similar interests; all use of Twitter's pseudo-retweet is excluded from such searches (Let's say, for example, I am looking to find new people to follow who are interested in indigenous peoples' rights, and use the hashtag #indigenous or the term "indigenous" to locate them. Or let's say I'm asking Mr. Tweet or some other application which helps with "friend finding" to find me people who tweet using the keyword "indigenous". And let's say you're someone who constantly uses twitter's fake retweet technology to send out tweets using the hashtag #indigenous. I will never even learn of your existence, because my search will turn up NONE of your pseudo-retweets. The poor saps who use Twitter's fake retweet are constantly losing opportunities to make new friends who share similar interests.)

(Short URL for this post: http://goo.gl/P8IFAi )

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  1. Thanks for this list, Ray. I've been disappointed by the Retweet link in Twitter ever since it came out. You gave concrete info about why it's best to go the old route.

  2. I wholeheartedly agree. I cannot stand the retweet button because of the very reasons you pointed out.

    Thank you for such an excellent writeup on the manner!

  3. You know, you tweeted me back once after I RT'd you the newfangled way from the web asking me to do it the original way, but for convenience I've kept using their RT button. Didn't really put any thought into the consequences. (I don't ever say this, but thanks for doing some thinking for me.) I am a changed man. I'll go back to the old-school, user-created, actually social use of Twitter as suggested. Thanks for the post.

  4. Excellent post, I had no idea that Twitter's retweet was so different from the traditional RT. I've been using lately out of sheer laziness, thanks so much for the education!

  5. Great stuff Ray.

    I get around this (and so do many of my Followers) by setting up a retweet like this:

    Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country (via @RayBeckerman)

    or (by @RayBeckerman)

    This puts it into the stream and allows everyone (including search) to see the retweet.

    I wholeheartedly agree with you!

  6. Although I am not a huge fan of twitter's "retweet" function, it can be useful when someone's tweet has too many characters for a traditional "RT". Updated versions of hootsuite, ubertwitter and other hosts DO in fact notify you in a regular @mention when someone retweets you using Twitter's web-retweet function. Not all, but many hosts are starting to do this. If I have nothing to add of my own, I will often use twitter's retweet function. But you are absolutely right - to make it a social experience, the RT opens up the opportunity of engagement. The only thing I do not like about the traditional RT is that it then makes your tweet un-searchable in programs like "tweetdoc". Tweetdoc allows you to do a search of tweets using keywords and then creates a PDF of all the tweets discussing the term you searched. It will omit any tweets that have "RT" in it. Truly unfortunate!

  7. Wow, Aisha.... that's the first time I ever heard of tweetdoc. Very interesting that they're filtering out of their search tweets with "RT" in it: twitter itself tried that, and within 24 hours thought better of it, and reversed itself. Within a few days later the filter had been scrapped.

    The answer to that problem is simple: don't ever use "tweetdoc" -- whatever that is -- for your searches.

    Use twitter's integrated search or http://search.twitter.com instead.

  8. Actually, you can make a new RT from a tweet by clicking on "etc." and select "Retweet with comment"

  9. Kristin, I have no idea what you are referring to. Where is this mysterious "etc" you are referring to?

  10. Thanks, Ray. I totally agree that RT is a great way to engage multiple users in a conversation. The few times I used the "fake" RT function were the times when the original tweets maxed out the character limit and so great in their original form and content that any attempt on my part to shorten it would diminish that which makes the tweets worth retweeting in the first place.

    My concern (about using the "real" RT as a way to converse with others) is due to occasional complaints from some of my followers about RT replies clogging up their streams, especially if the people in the conversation are those they don't/don't want to follow. Is there a way around that?

    Also, I recently became a first time victim of another kind of fake RT wherein someone tweets: Love this! Thanks for a reco! RT @(me) Take a look. Great deal. http://linktospamsite.com Basically, any spammers can get away (at least for a time) with making up a tweet and attribute it to someone and making it look like the link is first tweeted (and endorsed) by that person. It doesn't happen often, but there doesn't seem to be anything one can do to prevent that. Twitter's "fake" retweets, on the other hand, ensure the retweets come from the original source. Advice?

    And then there's that whole issue about people's tweets being misconstrued due to bad editing on the retweeter's part ...

    If there are ways to get around these issues, there's really no need to use Twitter's fake retweet button at all, I think.

  11. 1. Yes Leela, there's an easy way to limit the circulation, one which I use myself frequently. When you don't want a purely conversational retweet to wind up in everybody's stream, just make sure that it starts off with "@username", with username being one of the folks participating in the conversation. That way it will only wind up in the streams of people following both you and username.

    2. I've occasionally seen faking of the type you describe; sometimes it's just incompetence, sometimes it's sinister. In either event what I do is "block & report". To me, sending out misleading stuff is a big no-no.

  12. Hootsuite allows you which option to use ... the traditional RT @username or the retweet from Twitter!

  13. Thanks Ray. I am only new to Twitter and didn't know the difference. I appreciate this article immensely.

  14. Ray, Thank You for drawing such articulate attention to this issue.
    Please Tweet it often for new people who don't understand.
    Your points were my very first reactions the day I found this nasty "thing" on Twitter. I thought, "Oh god, where's my chance to edit this or say anything? This is no good--it really sucks!" so, after 2 or 3 learning curve tweets, I stopped using it immediately.
    Thank You, Ray, for formally saying what a lot of us are thinking. :)

  15. I agree wholeheartedly and walk my talk. I will be saving the link to your blog entry so that I can explain the difference to friends who are not aware. Thanks for saving my fingers.



  16. Thanks, guys. My pleasure.

    It's surprising to me, but a lot of people just don't get it, which is why I "re-tweet" the article from time to time.

    Every single time I tweet the article I get tweets which evidence that even after allegedly looking at my article, many people still don't understand what it says.

    This morning, e.g., I got one tweet saying that twitter's rubber stamp retweets are better for getting the retweeted person into "top tweets" (duh), and another one saying they use the rubberstamp-retweet when they have nothing to add (as if adding something was the only reason to use the traditional retweet).

    BTW the people who make these comments almost always send tweets rather than blog post comments, so that you guys never get to see them, or correct them.


  17. I respectfully disagree. I use Twitter's intrinsic retweet about as often as I use "RT", both have their place.

    I could probably write a dissertation on when/where/what that place is, but I'll say the main value of Twitter's retweet is simply for passing along information that is already packaged nicely, will reach an audience that otherwise wouldn't see it, and needs no further commentary.

  18. Thanks for the information, I had no idea and I will never retweet from the website it's self.

  19. yeah, I agree.
    I tend to use Twitter's Retweet because I end up wanting to RT someone whose tweet is too long.
    Twitter needs to link tweets. So that you can respond while maintaining context.

  20. Wow! Thanks for this article on retweeting Ray. I had NO IDEA about the traditional retweet.. and will be following your advise for now on (including commentin ON the post)

  21. And if you've tried the new twitter - rubber stamp retweets don't offer any clues at all of where the retweet came from. I kept thinking "do I follow that person?" Very confusing.

    I'll do my best from now on to resist pressing twitter's shiny retweet button.

  22. Thank you for this. I was just starting to get the idea, but your post helped me really understand it. Makes sense to do it as you described it (as long as the tweet wasn't too long initially).

  23. Instinct told me to use traditional retweets almost from the start. The only time I use Twitter's auto RT is when the message would be more than 140 characters if done traditionally.

  24. I haven't told you this lately but you are an amazing man with much to offer the twitter eco-system! thanks for being a GO-GIVER! it is an admirable trait!

  25. I agree with this. I do use the new form of retweet occasionally, but I have noticed a couple of things:

    1. If you use lists in Tweetdeck, which I do, you won't ever see any of the official form of retweets, only traditional ones. The visibility of anything you retweet using the official form is completely compromised.

    2. Sites that monitor retweets only seem to notice traditional retweets, not the new form.

    3. Clients often don't update your mentions column with official retweets until hours after they're made, and don't notify you (this at least is true of Tweetdeck) that somebody has retweeted your tweet. If, like me, you're posting your own work and want to thank people for the added promotion, it's embarrassing if you miss people's retweets because they're only added hours after the fact, in order, so they're lost under every other mention you've had since you posted. I'm big on Twitter etiquette and saying thanks for that kind of support, and it's frustrating that I often miss people's retweets because of this.

  26. You miss perhaps the most important reason: when the original tweet is deleted all the "new" retweets vanish with it. This is a terrible implementation as it is tantamount to deleting history. Always retweet important info by hand "RT"...

  27. good piece - and i almost entirely agree (like many ppl who've commented sometimes use the twitter RT without comment...some tweets speak for themselves!).
    I find that the desktop version of Tweetdeck is great for RTing with (or without) comments from multiple accounts - sometimes i want to RT something from an account not following the original tweeter.
    Where i struggle is on my Ipad where the Tweetdeck app is lightweight compared to desktop version. The official Twitter app is better - but doesnt make it easy to RT with comment...it offers a 'quote tweet' function, which allows you to add/edit. BUT (for reasons i cannot understand) it wraps the tweet in quote marks, rather than just prefacing it with RT. makes no sense. highly irritiating and inhibits my RTing when i'm not at my PC.
    guess i need to find a better Ipad app...but so far nothing's doing it for me.
    Good post, thanks

  28. Unreservedly, concisely and without deviation; thank you.



  29. I disagree on every level. Retweeting was broken until Twitter made it official.

    Firstly, retweeting has reached epidemic proportions. If you follow lots of people with similar interests you end up seeing the same tweets over and over again. If your feed gets too clogged up with stuff you simply don't need to see, Twitter becomes unusable.

    The second, and more annoying, problem is that a huge number of people are simply doing it wrong. Many users are getting confused with 'via'.

    When a user copies someone else's tweet and uses via instead of RT, they're implying -- admittedly unintentionally -- that this is their work. Equally annoying is the practice of retweeting the wrong person: when retweeting a retweet, the original tweeter should get the RT, and whoever brought it to your attention gets the via.

    Plus traditional retweets let other users mess with what you've written, which they often have to in order to shorten the message to fit the RT text. It's all about attribution.

    Read more: http://crave.cnet.co.uk/software/no-retweet-no-surrender-49303695

    Or just don't bother retweeting, and think of your own interesting things to say on the subject. You can probabaly tell I don't like retweets at all...

  30. There's a problem with "traditional" Retweets at scale when hashtags get involved. If I'm using a hashtag to look for all conversations around something that is currently happening, and something has been retweeted a few dozen times the "traditional" way, then any conversation is quickly flooded. The "new-style" retweet would only put that tweet into view once - but at the top of the search.

    I'm not disagreeing with any of your points on the merits of the "traditional" way, but for that reason alone, I think the new one is better for Twitter on the whole being more social and conversational. Because the great strength of Twitter isn't having a chat with your close circle of friends (which is a job that Facebook does perfectly well on a larger scale); it's about more open conversations with wider networks.

    Your point (5) does highlight a more significant annoyance, but I think that's more to do with the UI than the underlying system (one which could be fairly easily fixed by a twitter app developer, or by adding a similar alert to that for @mentions on the main Twitter.com page.)

  31. You have touched on a subject that makes my blood boil. I agree so much. I only wish there was hashtag so we could make this trend forever.

  32. I have noticed that when someone with a huge amount of Twitter followers Retweets me in the traditional way I often get more followers from them but when they do the fake RT I tend to get no response from it and no followers.

  33. You're wrong, but that's fine because no-one is right about Twitter.

    The biggest problem with old-style retweets is people editing content in and out of them, producing a Chinese whispers trail of inaccuracy. I've had my words mangled and pre/suffixed so badly in the past that I'm firmly against the RT-with-comment camp now.

    If you want to point to something interesting on Twitter use the RT function.

    If you want to comment on a tweet outside of the overlap between you and the tweeter, link to it or something.

    But don't mess with people's words. That's just rude.

  34. Ray - have participated in this dialog with you directly on Twitter and I agree with you. Let's keep the social in social media. Just wish some of the clients (Tweetdeck for Android) made it easier to do a traditional RT!!

    Keep spreading the word!!


  35. Yes of course it's important to do the traditional retweets in such a way as to make it clear who is retweeting and who is doing the retweeting.

    Each has his or her role to play. The retweeted is the author. The retweeter is MY TRUSTED FRIEND whose tweets I've signed on to receive and read.

    Attribution is at the heart of it.

    If I were to retweet someone without making it clear that I was retweeting them, it would defeat the whole purpose.

    The pseudo-retweets provide undue attribution to the party being retweeted, and render MY FRIEND invisible. I am often unaware of who is the poor soul who pressed the rubber stamp retweet button.

    If you don't mind being invisible, and want to send things to your friends that they don't recognize, then you might as well ignore everything I've said.

  36. I've found myself totally at odds with the majority of commenters.

    My biggest objection to not using the programmatic "official" retweet is that I see the same thing over and over again. I hate it, and it wastes my time when I could be reading more interesting stuff.

    As for your assertion that the manual retweet keeps the spirit of social networking alive, I can't agree with this either. If I want to carbon copy retweet something which is interesting to my followers, a common use case, I just hit the magic retweet button. If I wish to comment on or modify a retweet, a much less common use case for me, I haven't come across a client which lacks support for a quoted retweet (essentially the "good retweet" you describe). Two different use cases, and two different tools to achieve my aim.

    Why aren't both types of retweet useful?


  37. A-men. RTed by jury-rigging new Twitter. Ugh.

  38. Traditional RT has one epic fail that Twitter's version fixes though -- I don't get to see dozens of retweets of the same tweet (which, by the very nature of TWitter, probably wasn't worth reading the first time). For that reason alone, I'd encourage everyone to use the new retweet function unless they really have a worthwhile comment to add. Twitter really wasn't and isn't designed for meaningful conversations; if you're looking for those, you joined the wrong social media website.

  39. I wrote a longer response on my blog that goes point-by-point to try and explain some of the positive reasons why official RTs work they way they do and why they benefit users and the ecosystem. I'm not sure what your policy is on linking like that in-line, though, so I'll snip what I think is the most important section here. My blog is linked via my username, but let me know if you want a direct link.


    There are a lot of good reasons why the new retweets are better for the Twitter ecosystem, and they are not at all about the business and celebrity aspects:

    - New retweets preserve the original statement and meaning as the author originally intended. Ever been misquoted, either by mistake or out of malicious intent, because someone paraphrased or edited something you said or wrote?

    - New retweets preserve the identity of the original author and gives them due credit. Most clients (including Twitter.com) will treat that RT'd tweet in your stream as coming from the original author. When you star or RT it, or click through to the profile on that tweet, you get the original author, not someone else who just copied and pasted something they said. The original author gets credit and the best visibility for their work.

    - New retweets don't inundated the original author's @ mention stream with tweets that are arguably useless and an actual retardant to the Twitter experience. The "retweet with comment" method (the 'traditional retweet' as some call them) isn't recognized by Twitter's mention system, so every "RT:" of something you wrote appears as a new mention. If a tweet starts really spreading, this can create a ton of useless clutter. Tweets are only 140 characters, and you don't have much room to add anything useful as a comment. Retweeting with comment to just add a "LOL!" or "this is nuts!" is useless and, I argue, an actual retardant to the Twitter experience. We all probably remember what we wrote when we tweeted something, so we probably don't need to see it tossed back at us 100 times with 100 RTs that have "LOL!" in front of them. If a tweet is funny, crazy, or essential to read, most people with even basic education should be able to figure that out for themselves. If you want to converse with the original author, there is nothing stopping you from sending a separate @reply after using the official retweet feature to RT something. If you want to create a conversation that everyone can see, there is also nothing stopping you from @mentioning the original author in the middle of a new tweet so both your friends *and* the original author see it.

  40. I don't understand why this matters so much to y'all.

  41. Calum:

    What twitter was designed for has nothing to do with what many of us use it for.

    In fact, people who use twitter for "what it was designed for" are totally missing the boat.

  42. David, I don't see a single thing in your response that contradicts anything I've said.

    If you're a "creator" of original twitter content, and you want your content to be distributed without comment, the rubber-stamp-retweet is fine for your purposes. Except, of course, that most creators of content would like their "content" to be discussed rather than rubber stamped.

    I have never been "inundated" with the "useless clutter" you're referring to, so I have no idea what you're talking about.

    My article is written from the viewpoint of one who wants to retweet something. If you want to retweet something, and decide to do a pseudo retweet instead of a traditional retweet, all you're accomplishing is:

    -anonymously assisting the original tweeter, and

    -burdening your 'followers' with something they don't recognize.

    If you're happy doing that, than pseudo-retweet all you like.

  43. Thanks for a great blog & dialogue, Ray. There is infinite learning and perspective in social media, these sorts of blogs and collaborations via comment are educational, thank you for sharing. Has anyone tried these sorts of plugins to account for the difference discussed? https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/241011/
    Would love to hear feedback/thoughts.

  44. Ray: the anonymity of official RTs is a perception caused by bad Twitter client design. Plenty of clients properly both display the friend who retweeted something and give proper credit to the original author.

    And I have to disagree with dubbing the introduction of a new person saying something interesting to one's followers as a "burden." If the point is to start a conversation and help each other find new people to follow, how is presenting an interesting new person to one's followers by retweeting something interesting they said a burden? It's a direct link to a new person and something good that they said.

    If you've never been inundated with a chain of RT @user RT @user RT @user RT @user, then consider yourself lucky. But the fact is that with traditional style retweets, each new RT appears as a mention in someone's timeline. If someone gets 100 traditional RTs with "LOL!" and "this is awesome" interjected in the front, they get 100 mentions in their timeline that are, arguably, worth just about nothing. What value is that to the conversation? How is that a good thing for the original author? If someone wants to reply or start a conversation, then they can do that. But the majority of tweets have taken up about all of the valuable space that 140 characters can offer; you can't get much of worth in by injecting a comment in a retweet.

  45. The times I use the "twitter" retweet are the times when adding RT@username makes the tweet go over 140 characters. If I can't retweet without editing, then I'm not retweeting that user's original tweet. The "twitter" retweet function allows me to retweet without having to pare the tweet down to 140 characters.

    When you use Tweetdeck it is very easy to see who has retweeted you, no matter what method they use. You don't have to use that long, complicated method that you described. It shows up along with your other mentions.

  46. That Firefox add-on Sue recommended works great! If you're on the "New Twitter" interface, you're provided with a "Classic Retweet" button. Neat.

    And yes tweetdeck desktop works great too.

  47. Thank you Ray for once again posting a most comprehensive list of the reasons why only traditional retweets should be used!!

    I've "met" - both online and off - absolutely AMAZING people because of retweets.

    Given that Twitter considers itself a "news service" is it any wonder they do not comprehend the way people are using it to engage one another.

  48. I think there is one more often overlooked advantage to Twitter's official RT function that is worth mentioning: control over one's stream and experience. It's also something that has roots in the change Twitter made to the fundamental way @mentions are viewed between accounts that do and do not follow each other.

    Let's say you and I mutually follow each other, and you follow @50cent, but I don't (for the sake of debate, feel free to interject any @name, such as a company you like, your favorite Website, or a politician you admire). Now let's say you retweet a lot of this @person's tweets because you think they're really awesome and all your friends should know about them.

    Now, three scenarios. The first:

    If I don't like this @person, I don't want to see tweets from them ***or replies to or about them,*** and you use the traditional RT system, my options for getting those tweets out of my view are limited. I can: 1) ask you politely to not tweet these things, 2) unfollow you, or 3) get a Twitter client designed for power users (which probably requires a paid license) which offers filtering features so I can filter the @name or other relevant keyword from my stream.

    None are very good solutions, nor are they helpful to our relationship or either of our Twitter experiences.

    Second scenario, which I argue is more preferable for both of us:

    If I don't like this @person, I don't want to see tweets from them, and you use the official RT feature, I can simply block the @person from my account. That way I never see their tweets when you retweet them or really even know they exist on Twitter, yet you get to keep having your fun with sharing something you think is important to your followers.

    A third scenario:

    Let's say I *do* like this same @person and we both follow him/her/it, so I'm getting all their tweets, and so are you.

    If you use old style retweets, that means I get the original tweet from @person, but I see yours as well. Same tweet, maybe with a "LOL!" or a "this is unbelievable" tacked on at the beginning, but now I'm seeing it twice. If more of my friend use the same traditional RT and add "holy crap!" and "OMG," I see it a third, fourth, fifth, and hundredth time, with comments that really are not adding anything to the conversation.

    But if these hundred people use the official RT, I won't have to see all those syndications of the original tweet. Plus, since we both follow the same account, we've opted in to see conversations between friends and that account, and can participate willingly when we choose.

  49. Fair points here, but I think there are cases when you want to do both. There's even a case for distinguishing further, e.g. between "RT @whoever" as well as " ... (via @whoever)". Good piece, but "don't use the auto retweet, ever" is too strong for me - I'd say rather "be aware of the differences between the re-tweet types, and use them appropriately".

  50. I just noticed you called people who use Twitter "customers". They're not - they're at best users of Twitter and at worse Twitter's product. Twitter's customers are advertisers and those who wish to buy and exploit their product - you and me. Sure, it's in Twitter's interest to keep its product happy, just as a farmer keeps his cows happy, but let's not get ideas above our station here.

    And the end of the day Twitter is a flaky service held together with string, chewing gum and rainbow wishes. The reason official RTs are a disappointment is because Twitter hasn't developed them properly.

  51. Pete:
    I used the term "customer" advisedly.
    We (a) consume it and (b) provide it with all of its value.

  52. I had a long winded reply, but Blogger horked up and stole it from me. I hate Blogger.

    Anyway, you're wrong. Your complaints amount to "I can't take other people's words, post them under my own identity, and then give no credit back to their creator".

    Basically, you're being a spammer.

    Please, try to come up with original content instead of stealing other people's words and posting them as yourself. You're taking credit away from the original author. You're taking conversation and potential followers away from the original author. You're making Twitter harder to use for everybody who follows you.

    Not that you'll be able to steal my words. I've blocked you on Twitter for this post. Generally, I block anybody who old-style-RT's me, because they're doing it wrong and I don't want them to be able to do it in the future, but for this post, I feel justified in a pre-emptive action.

  53. I've rejected a few comments for "rudeness" and for "comment spam".

  54. as I switch off the RTs for all new people I follow I don't see them anyway, another good reason to not use them if you want followers to see what you RT!

  55. Curious... I do know the auto-retweet attributes the person who last retweeted (the one on your follow list), so I find it curious why there's complaint about attribution with the 'auto-retweet' method. Admittedly, you don't know how the person you follow got the RT in the first place, but at least you do know who relayed it to you, and you can click on the tweet itself and get a listing of who's RT'd it.

    A recent '@TSAgov' tweet was 'Retweeted by wilw and 85 others', for instance...

    Not to say it solves one of the complaints, just pointing it out and being a bit of devil's advocate. I personally will probably generally continue to use the auto because I usually don't have anything to add, nor wish to spend more time with the tweet than I feel is necessary (which is usually just "read, click to pass on").

  56. great.. thanks for the info.. I had an intuitive discomfort with twitter's retweet.. now I know why :)

  57. Well, it certainly is an issue which elicits conversation!
    Balancing the "traditional" RT and its good points alongside the Button RT I find more of my values supported by the traditional RT method - I'm avoiding the button, although a few minutes ago I saw in the "stream" that I had used it (without knowing I had done so?) - I deleted it and did it the traditional way.
    What gets lost via the button is the person.
    My value is on the person.

  58. This post was so very, very helpful. I am afraid I may have broken some of these rules during our Twitter conversation about my backyard squirrels. I will try to be more cognizant about my RT'ing habits. :)

  59. Your post is thoughtful and informative and I honestly didn't know about the so called traditional re-tweet button even though I have seen a few people use it on my TL.

    My point here is, unless this so called traditional re-tweet is integrated into twitter by default,it will be quite impossible to sink down this message. Reasons being, how many percent of people do you think have the time to start doing the whole referencing thingy you stated here when they can just hit the re-tweet button and get the message across.

    Also, if you have been studying twitter lately, their are two reasons people re-tweet. 1.) to spread the info on their TL to their followers ( in this case they dont require any follow up conversation.
    2.) To continue a conversation thread...

    People who do the later have tools that enable a conversation thread as well as editing like Ubertwitter, Tweetdeck,Snaptu, to mention but a few.

    My point exactly: Your info is vital and will only be properly digested if it is addressed to twitter itself but if you want the public to adopt a pattern which a whole lot of them have no idea about, it will be like pouring water on a duck's back.


  60. This is a lot to digest, and for me that's the problem. It's so easy to hit a button that says retweet. It's hard to sort through all these pros and cons and arrive at a truly informed decision. Social Media just seems to get more complicated every day...

  61. Thanks a ton for this. really helpful for those of us new to twitter. I'm an eager beaver and have been re-tweeting like a madman but realize peeps probably dont even know it.


  62. Great post. I use the new retweet on occasion if everything in the original tweet is in congruence with my thoughts. I still prefer the old school retweet, but I do find that I use both of them now.

  63. If you use Seemsmic apps. Then simple use the 'quote' button

  64. I really don't mind the Retweet button Twitter supplies. I even like it. I really don't see the problem. Sometimes a tweet doesn't need your comment; sometimes you just want to share what somebody else says with other people, without drawing attention to yourself. If you want to comment on a tweet, you can do the classic RT manually, no big deal.

    You can blow a banal thing like that out of proportion, you know.

  65. Great advice but I do believe sometimes using the retweet button can be used to illustrate a narrative that you're currently following on your feed. For example, as a journalist, I'm following the events in Libya and after tweeting a news regarding fighting in a certain city, I'll often retweet the comment of a Journalist reporting from the area to introduce some colour into my feed. I understand I could simply CTRL+C the post and and use a RT tag but sometimes as background it's nice to have a different face & viewpoint popping up on the feed. That's just my opinion anyway.


  66. The two big advantages of new style retweet are that a) I don't get dozens of instances of the same retweeted message in my timeline, many with a pointless comment from the retweeter, and b) I can easily see who's retweeted what. Those two things make it far more valuable to me than old style manual retweets.

  67. Sam, the thing is people aren't usually reading YOUR feed. If all people did on Twitter is read other people's feeds then this whole article would have been unnecessary. I follow around 8500 people. If I were to read their feeds on their profile pages I would need about 500 hours a day in which to do it.

    The reality is that we generally read our own "home" feed and the feeds of our lists.

  68. I will say that one thing I prefer about the Official Twitter Retweet button, is my ability to follow someone I find interesting, while at the same time disabling visibility on that specific users retweets. I find that I typically will unfollow interesting people if they post "RT" too often simply because they'll begin overbearing my stream.

    Surely there are people who don't mind so much as myself though!

  69. Immediately re-tweeted this properly. Astounding the difference in old style and easy retweet button. I want everyone to know! Thanks so much!

  70. I disagree to a large extent with some of the comments on here. Twitter is public, as such expect your conversations to be public, why are you worrying about people you don't know retweeting you? Expect it. Solves a lot of problems. My advice, if you don't wanting something Retweeted, don't post it in the first place. Twitter is an open bag of information, and your trivial rules about how to share that information ruin it for everyone. I will never abide by someone's arbitrary rules, especially if your premise is built around sharing content with your followers only.

  71. Dear Anonymous, to tell you the truth I couldn't understand which comments you were criticizing. Could you possibly clarify? BTW please follow rule (c) about giving yourself a handle if you're commenting anonymously, so we'll know which "Anonymous" you are. Thanks :)

  72. Excellent view Ray. The new retweet is quite lame.

    I have only used the new one click stamp method when the post has been something that I could not warrant change. Do you see any positive use for it?

  73. None whatsoever, Bobby.

    If I were to use it, I would be betraying my followers, by putting spam in their stream.

    They signed on to follow me.

  74. Twitter for Mac, developed by Twitter themselves permits you to use either or, so I guess that's a least a modicum of integration.

  75. Ryan, I'm quite surprised to hear that.

    Please tell me how it works.

    BTW I'm sure Twitter didn't "develop" it, it probably just bought it from the developers.

  76. Thanks for that Ray. It is spam, isn't it. I will change our policy now to never use it. Appreciate the advice!

  77. Thanks for posting this, Ray!

    I have been tweeting since early 2008 and It took me awhile to come to terms with the "new RT" (which is no longer new, btw). But now I use both, and this is why:


    Threaded conversation/context - Think of a RT as Facebook "like", a "dig," or a Google +1. You liked it enough to share it with your friends, but you wouldn't want to take credit for writing it. And there's plenty of space to explain why you liked it - just reply directly to the tweet.

    Maybe one of the greatest values of Twitter for me is how New Twitter displays tweets so users can see all of the public responses and if there's a back-and-forth, we see the whole conversation. (As opposed to how old-style RTs are considered mentions and get lost in the "retweeter's" stream while not being easily available to other interested users).

    Cleaner metrics - I like being able to see how many people have retweeted something I've said, read, or retweeted! An old style RT doesn't count toward this # and is erroneously counted as a Twitter "mention."

    Filtering - my followers can opt not to see my new style retweets, which reduces the amount of space I take up in their timelines (and vice versa).

    Attribution - The original author should get their due attribution including their picture next to the tweet with a link to their profile.


    Brevity - if my commentary is just a few words, I don't expect a response from the author, I don't care whether the author's followers see my response, and I want all of my followers to see it… I might just use the old-style RT.

    PRO TIP:

    Download the Twitter Extender for Google Chrome to use the "old style" of retweeting in a single click: https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/ddcgpjemdlhkehjpibldielpoodpjgjc

    Have fun and I'll see you on Twitter!


    p.s. I use "MT" instead of "RT" if I modify the original tweet in any way…

  78. I just ended up here through a native Twitter retweet by someone I follow on Twitter. Through this process, several things claimed in this post have been immediately disproven.

    Twitter's native retweet serves a distinct purpose: sharing something someone else has said quickly and without comment. At the same time, you are giving that person more support than with a traditional RT, because you are pushing their profile, their Twitter persona, instead of basically copying what they said and passing it off on your stream.

    Instead of the person I'm following showing up in my feed, it was TweetSmarter I saw, someone I did not know of before, but now have been introduced to - by someone I follow. This is good because now I might be more interested in why someone I follow has promoted this person in this way, which will probably more likely lead to a follow.

    Also, it cuts down on the lame part of the traditional RT: wasteful duplication. Most people don't add anything to a RT, so the new native retweet solves this quite elegantly by not making a bazillion copies of the same tweet. All of them point to the original one. If you know anything about SEO, you know this is a good thing.

    Anyways, my larger point is this: why use the whole "RT" notation at all if you're going to share something someone said or linked to?

    Instead of "RT @Username This is their message and I might add a word or two", if you really want to add something original to it, why not something like: "@Username said/linked something I liked, I liked it because bla bla, check it out"? Isn't that much better and more "organic"?

    Twitter does have some work to do on their web interface, as far as better options to see who has retweeted you and such; in fact I think Twitter's current web interface sucks balls. It's horrible.

    Yet on TweetDeck and other apps, you DO get informed when someone retweets you with native retweet. Twitter will probably improve their web interface with time to line up better with their new features.

    And as far as the claim about "not starting a discussion" goes - I think this comment and the tweet I answered to both you and the person who retweeted you on Twitter disproves that point blank.

  79. Twitter's RT button is about as anti-social as it could be, making it difficult for people to connect and preventing content in RTs from evolving as it's shared.

    I really believe that if more of the folks who work for Twitter actually spent a little more time connecting and engaging with other folks on Twitter, rather than treating their streams as private clubs, they'd understand immediately why this issue is such a sticking point. It's all about being social.

  80. There seems to be something new when using the Classic-RT-button add-on for firefox: it now says "link will appear shortened" . Seems great, but is not. Just because the next person who will try to retweet you, will have a broken link in the Rt then.

    Another strategy to make us use the twitter button ???

  81. Thank you, Glen. Very much appreciated.

  82. George, you can use Twitter's retweet button to your heart's content. The net effect is (a) you're hurting yourself and (b) you're sending spam to your followers.

    But I object to your calling it "native". The classic or traditional retweet was here years before the pseudo-retweet button.

  83. This is something interesting I'd like to point out, and I don't think you mentioned: Twitter DOES, at least now, recognize the manual retweet in some capacity: Let's say I retweeted something using the retweet button, and then I looked at my profile on the official Twitter app for BlackBerry, where it automatically shows your latest tweet at the top. Instead of showing the picture of the person whose tweet I RT'd, it would show my picture and say "RT @ladygaga: et cetera." When a retweet through the button cannot be properly expressed, the manual method is displayed. (The colon after the username seems to be very important.)

    However, even if you DO manually retweet, using the colon and everything, Twitter doesn't count it as an actual retweet when you click on the tweet and it shows a list of "Retweeted by". Just thought I'd chime in!

  84. Also, mobile Twitter apps now have a "Quote Tweet" function where it puts quotation marks around the Tweet but then allows you to edit and/or add in your own message. It seems they're really trying to dismantle the traditional retweet.

    As an additional note, if the retweet button is used and one clicks on the tweet itself, only TWELVE INDIVIDUAL USERS will be shown as having retweeted. And if more than 100 people have retweeted it says "Retweeted by So and So and 100+ others". Kind of lame. At least give us a number.

  85. I also usually do my own retweets. However, I think it's a bad idea to start with RT @...; I always put this at the end. The content is more important than the tweeter, and that's what I want to see when I'm scanning tweets, not who happened to forward it on (even if they're the original author).

    More often than not I'll make changes to it, usually small to fit in the extra RT, but sometimes to provide a better summary (IMHO). In the latter case I use "via @…" to acknowledge the originator but distinguish the content.

    If I'm not making any changes to the tweet I sometimes use Twitter's built-in version, but after reading this perhaps I won't anymore.

  86. Thanks Ray! I never thought of it that way.

  87. I have a question about manually retweeting, and I apologize for my naivete: You said to "Copy and paste the message and name of person sending it to you" when doing a manual RT, but when you copy and paste someone's message that includes a link, it won't work. Is there a fix for that? Thank you! KG

  88. Dear anonymous KG... you raise a very important question.

    Everyone, listen carefully to what I am about to say!

    1. This is a new thing that Twitter is doing. About a month ago it started blocking the copying and pasting of URL's when using the twitter.com interface. You would 'copy' but when you 'pasted' the link turned up missing.

    2. Now, it only happens some times, not every time.

    3. It is less likely to happen if the link appears somewhere other than at the end.

    4. I think twitter is doing it deliberately to try and sabotage classic or traditional retweeting.

    "Workarounds" include:

    5. using Tweetdeck or other application rather than twitter.com as your interface

    6. using SocialOomph.com as a place to add tweets

    7. using the "classic retweet" button in Firefox or Chrome instead of copying and pasting

    8. Adding a hashtag to the end, or otherwise moving the link from the end to the middle of the tweet

    But one important thing I've noticed --> When Twitter started doing this, around a month ago, it happened on EVERY SINGLE TWEET. Now I'm finding that it usually does not happen.

  89. Ray, great article!
    Some thoughts/questions:
    1. What if I do a traditional retweet but remove the original message to be able to type at least 140-length_of_username_of_original_tweeter characters in my reply.
    A. Is this not best practice to remove the original message when retweeting?
    B. Will it then show up correctly when looking at the "conversation"?

    2. Is there any web or #Android #twitter client that can bundle retweets when doing a hash tag search (or following one which is possible in #tweetdeck)? I know it's possible in my normal twitter feed but when having a search (in a column in Tweetdeck) it's really annoying getting 50 retweets on a popular tweet. If it instead said: "Original msg (50 retweets)" I would be happy! :) Then of course I would want it to jump to the top of the list everytime someone retweets.

  90. magnus, I didn't really understand your 1st question, sorry...

    your 2nd question is about twitter retweets, not traditional, or classic, retweets...

  91. I've stopped using Classic RT in firefox, except for @davewiner.The Classic RT always seems to work for him, with links coming out in blue.The links for all others, come out in black and need a new tab to make them active.
    This is important to me b/c I type with only the left hand and read slowly.I have sent an email to jon pierce and commented on twitter about @davewiner.I can't use tweetdeck b/c it moves too fast and the constant chirping drives me insane.

    I didn't know that there was a problem with the manual RT until I read this.I could use the original article to retweet, but doesn't seem fair to the person who gave it to me, without whom I would never come upon the article.


  92. There is a problem in your method. If I do it using RT, then I may not be able to paste the complete message if it's already of full length. Any solution?

  93. Shorten it, or use a twit-shortener like twitlonger.com or deck.ly

  94. Great article Ray. I always thought that Twitter's retweet process was silly, but thanks for explaining to me why they did it, and even more importantly, a better way to do it. The traditional retweet is definitely a better way to attach your name and the original tweeters name to the Retweet. Definitely some good advice and something I can use to avoid having to hire a social media company. Thanks!

  95. Hi Ray,

    I just found this article after some confusion over where my retweet with the new button went and not finding any good answers in Twitter help (which doesn't seem to be updated for interface changes). I want to thank you both for the very clear explanation and the link to the Classic Twitter RT button for Firefox. I just installed/restarted and am excited to see it there...and planning to use it. Thank you thank you and happy thanksgiving@

  96. Thanks, Anonymous :) Much appreciated

  97. Wow! This explains so much!!! Thanks for the great info and insights.

  98. is it just me or has the classic RT extension (firefox) fell through with the new Twitter update? Not an option for me anymore, definitely one of my favorite tools :(

  99. I don't know, Eric. You're the second person that's mentioned that to me, but Twitter hasn't 'rolled out' the new new twitter to me yet.

  100. Thanks - I use stocktwits and their RT just adds RT to the front and you add your comments and edit as needed so did not know twitter had changed - so would never use them as we always comment on a RT.

    What bother me and I have no idea about is what used to be named mentions is no your user name and some RTs have a reply button and some do not - If they have the users large avatar the reply function is there but some do not show the big avatar so no replay So I have to do it my self. What in the world is that all about? I send a thanks to all who RT so this is a waste of time. Don;t the designers use twitter? If they did they would not wreck it like this. Also for D messages they do not sort them by date anymore and that is really awful. How to find a person you hardly know who send a message two weeks ago? Just stupid. When you hid New Message there is no D so you can't be sure it is a D message or not. Well I suppose it is not such a hard system to make so if they hut it too much someone else will make a better system.

    Ha - I can';t comment here using my twitter login - or Google+ - guess ti an old system - anyway thanks


  101. Thanks, much.

    I just started using Twitter and was totally mystified at why the Retweets I was seeing and reading, looked nothing like what was happening with the Retweet button!

  102. Yeah, Maegen, it mystifies me too how twitter's management could be that dumb

  103. Damn, that's a bummer. While I definitely enjoy the new Twitter layout, this lack of classic RT hurts! I mentioned you in one of my own blog posts (http://bighappymedia.com/big-happy-tweeting-tips-lesson-1/) and hate to say I'm hesitant to keep it up as I don't really want to supply false info for those that have updated. I guess I'll leave it for the time being, no complaints yet!

  104. Thanks for your advice, Ray. I've been using both types of RTs and some MTs. I use Twitter for iPad so to get around the auto Retweet, I have used the Quote button, which often makes for a weird Tweet. However, it's my only option as copy-and-paste is somehow disabled. I would like to send this blog as an FYI RT to some of my followers who are in love with the "new" Retweet button, but I guess that would be rude.

  105. Hi Kathleen

    I don't know if it's rude, after all you're just giving them some good advice for their benefit :)

  106. Just so you know, you can do the so called 'classic' retweet in Twitter for Mac...
    And frankly I don't see what's wrong with the default retweet. Legacy is boring.

  107. Hi Ray, Twitter expert? I wonder if you have any ideas about the twitter embedded on our blog http://antonfestival.blogspot.com/. The twitter feed is a list because it has to be but when I hit Join the Conversation, it leads to a link that doesn't exist. Any thoughts on who could help. Been googling all over and can't find any help. Thx! ANF

  108. You have a link to a nonexistent twitter list. You should change the link to https://twitter.com/#!/antonfestival/

  109. This article came up just when I was reaching the limits of my frustration with one aspect of retweeting the "old fashioned way: whenever I copied the tweet and then paste it so I can retweet it, the URL in the original tweet goes missing. It's like Twitter won't allow me to copy the URL portion of the message.

    Any idea why this is or any easy and simple way of resolving it? I hope I didn't miss this information in your article...

  110. Okay Ray, thanks for that! I didn't get any notification that you'd answered here and accidentally found your response, strange. Anyway, will work on the link. I think I need a list to include other people's tweets in the feed, no? Not sure you want to get involved w/this mess as I have lists following lists that follow the originals lists in an endless loop? At any rate, the code I have doesn't want me to put in a link? though I'll keep working on how to do that. It seems to want something like this: }).render().setList('antonfestival', 'antonfestivity').start(); Thanks again :)

  111. I really appreciate your work , Great post.

  112. I know it's important to get on the whole social media train for my business..i just can't figure out how twitter is going to help me? any advice would be appreciated.

  113. I think other apps do a way better of RT implementation than Twitter does. I'm long over the change of the RT, to the point I actually quite like it. Adding your comment isn't always needed. Sometimes things are just awesome on their own and don't need commentary from the peanut gallery to be shared and enjoyed.

    I think the thing that is fundamentally broken about the RT is how they are kept track of. The fact they essentially created 2 tiers of RTs, then only keep track of the "official" method is annoying. If I tweet something that is popular and shared a bunch, I don't want to have to sift though my replies and check who officially RT'd my stuff.

  114. So yeah, um, seems like a whole lot of your case for doing a manual RTs is about bringing attention to yourself instead of honoring the tweet/author you feel compelled to retweet in the first place. "They might not realize that I made the amazing decision to retweet them." "I can't edit their tweet." "THEIR picture will appear next to their tweet instead of MINE."

    I mean really? If you aren't adding a useful comment (and no I don't think "LOLZ" counts) the manual RT is pretty weak, in my opinion.

    A novel way to get more attention is to be the original writer of retweet-worthy things.


    Tofu Dan

  115. Yes, Anonymous Tofu Dan, you have a different view of things.

    Personally I'm not on twitter to 'honor' the brilliant authors of "retweet-worthy things", nor am I here to write "retweet-worthy things", I'm here to learn and share and make friends.

    If I retweet someone, and they don't even know that I did, or if they retweet something of mine and I don't know that they did, that's not going to build our relationship one iota. And if neither they nor I even show up in a keyword search, that's not going to help us find each other.

    If you want to be invisible, what's the purpose of going on twitter at all?

    And if you just want to write brilliant original things & be retweeted by legions of fans, well -- you're exactly the kind of person I would never follow.

  116. So you don't follow anyone based on the content they tweet? There are people doing some pretty neat things with 140 characters. Do you intentionally avoid people who write original things and have developed a fan base?

    And if you do come across a very insightful or funny tweet that you think deserves sharing, is getting your picture next to it instead of the person who wrote it really a priority?

    My colleagues on Twitter are mostly writers and comedians. If Michael Ian Black tweets a joke, it's something he wrote. If I think it's stellar, I want his picture next to it when I share it. Is that strange of me?

    Tofu Dan

  117. Like I said, Anonymous Tofu Dan, you have a different view of things than I do, I never said you were "strange". I'm on twitter to interact with my friends rather than anonymously help geniuses reach their fan base.

    So maybe I'm just not as wonderful a human being as you are.

  118. Wait, did you just turn into my wife?

    I take it you don't recognize absurd passive aggression as an "unfair tactic".

    Want to share an Ed Schultz tweet, but don't have anything to add? What's wrong with a click of the retweet button, even if (gasp) YOUR picture isn't next to HIS thought?

    You're a good looking guy, but a few other people's AVIs on your timelines might really spruce up the place.



  119. I'm sorry Anonymous VaguelyFunnyDan, I lost my concentration when you said I'm a "good looking guy" :)

  120. Great Great post I really appreciate

  121. Dear Ray Beckerman

    Like you, I'm on Twitter 'to learn and share and make friends.' That's exactly why I prefer the built-in retweet function to the classic method of retweeting. When you write that 'If [you] retweet someone, and they don't even know that [you] did, or if they retweet something of [yours] and [you] don't know that they did, that's not going to build [your] relationship [with them] one iota', you are correct - but that is a reason for using the built-in retweet function and avoiding the classic method. If you retweet someone using the retweet button, that person will be automatically notified that you have retweeted their tweet. If you do it by typing 'RT', that person will instead be notified that you have 'mentioned' them.

    This is explained in the blog post linked to via my name.

    Best wishes


    1. Thanks for your comment, Daniel. I've read your blog post but disagree with your conclusions.

      You've given it a lot of thought, perhaps too much thought.

      The conversational thread is preserved with classic retweets, and destroyed by twitter retweets.

      Your blog post's suggestion -- that people should use both -- seems illogical to me, and seems to admit the point that I'm making.

  122. I'm not sure you understood my blog post as I intended it. I didn't suggest that people use both the classic and the new method but that if they use the classic method, they should ideally do so after clicking 'Reply', rather than in an entirely new tweet, since this preserves at least some connection between the retweet and the original.

    The conversational thread - in the sense of, a string of tweets each of which responds to the one before it, which reappears when you click 'View conversation' - is only preserved in the classic retweet method if you do the classic retweet after clicking the 'Reply' button. If you use the classic method without 'Reply', this is lost because Twitter has no way of knowing that your 'retweet' has any relationship at all to the tweet you are retweeting. The screenshots on my blog posting show this quite clearly. If you want to understand why this happens, you need to access Twitter via the Twitter API and have a look at the metadata that accompanies the normally visible portion of each tweet.

    My post also shows that your arguments 5 and 6 against the new retweet method ('if someone retweets you, it is difficult for you to learn that they did' and 'if you retweet people, they will never learn that you did') no longer apply (I assume that they were correct at the time when you posted them). As the screenshots on my blog post show, retweeting a tweet using the new method will lead to the original tweeter's being notified of it as a retweet (i.e. with the words 'X retweeted you!' and 'Your Tweet got retweeted!'), while retweeting a tweet using the classic method will lead to the original tweeter's being notified only that he/she has been 'mentioned'.

  123. In deference to Daniel Allington's suggestion that my original post is out of date, I reviewed it this morning, and updated it. He's right that there were a couple of things that needed updating. E.g., tweetmeme is no longer in existence, so I removed the reference to it, and the way of finding twitter-fake-retweets has changed, but is similar in concept... you have to go look for them.

    But the principles remain the same. With twitter-fake-retweets you are more invisible and less part of a conversation, than when using traditional or classic retweets; if you don't care about visibility or conversation, and don't care about connecting and interacting with people who have similar interests, then it doesn't matter.

  124. Interesting article, but moving with the times and reducing work for oneself is part of progress, even if it does mean succumbing slightly to the ever-encroaching parasitism of capitalism. I read the article while nodding my head and then read some of the comments advocating the other side of the coin. It seems Twitter has its own official answer that satisfies both camps: https://support.twitter.com/articles/20169873-retweeting-another-person-s-tweet

    And that's how I'm going to be doing it in future.

  125. Like you, I'm on Twitter 'to learn and share and make friends.' That's exactly why I prefer the built-in retweet function to the classic method of retweeting. When you write that 'If [you] retweet someone, peluang usaha kecil sampingan and they don't even know that [you] did, or if they retweet something of [yours] and [you] don't know that they did, that's not going to build [your] relationship [with them] one iota', you are correct - but that is a reason for using the built-in retweet function and avoiding the classic method. If you retweet someone using the retweet button, that person will be automatically notified that you have retweeted their tweet. If you do it by typing 'RT', that person will instead be notified that you have 'mentioned' them.

  126. Like you, I'm on Twitter 'to learn and share and make friends.' That's exactly why I prefer the built-in retweet functionfacebook


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