Social Media

Don’t RT!

In 2009, Twitter introduced a new way of retweeting someone else’s tweet. Up until then all retweets looked similar to these tweets:

The then new retweet style looks like this:


The old retweet style basically just copies the text, adds RT or quotation marks and the original author’s Twitter handle. The new style leaves the original tweet untouched and keeps the information about the retweet outside of the tweet. Depending on which Twitter client you use, you sometimes get a choice if you want to use the old retweet style or the new one.

If you are wondering if it’s still OK to use the old retweet style consider the advantages of the new style:

  1. The original author gets more credit for his/her tweet. His picture will appear in your followers’ timelines.
  2. You can retweet all 140 characters.
  3. Those followers that follow both you and the original tweet’s author will only see the tweet once.
  4. The retweet shows up in the retweet statistics of the original tweet. (In the examples above, we are only seeing the number of new-style retweets of that old-style retweet.)
  5. Discussions about the original tweet and your retweet happen in the same place.
  6. The original tweet’s timestamp is used.
  7. Followers who are interested in you but not your retweets can configure Twitter to not see your retweets.

There are times when you will want to add a comment while retweeting. In this case, writing RT may be considered OK but please think about this alternative: You can reference the original tweet by copying the tweet’s link into your tweet. Some clients (e.g., the Twitter iPhone client) will show the original tweet inline with your retweet comment, giving you many of the advantages contained in the list above.


Getting the original tweet’s link isn’t usually that intuitive. In mobile apps, you can typically get it by long-pressing the tweet and selecting the option to copy the link into the clipboard. On the Twitter website, you can get the link by right-clicking on the tweet’s date or timestamp and selecting the copy option from the context menu.


So please don’t RT! There are better alternatives.

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