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How Twitter RT (Retweets) Work

How to Properly RT Someone on Twitter


Retweet symbol

Twitter isn’t exactly the most intuitive social network for everybody. The Twitter RT is one of the most widely used approaches to get a message to more people and to attract more followers.

For those just getting started on Twitter, here’s everything you need to know about Twitter RTing.

What does Twitter RT mean?

“RT” is an acronym for “retweet.” It’s used when you want to push someone else’s tweet message to your own followers, usually so that the original user that tweeted gets credit and is notified that their message is being passed along.

There are a couple different ways to RT someone on Twitter:

Press the “Retweet” button: The easiest way to RT someone is to hover your cursor over the tweet and look at the actions appear beneath the tweet. The word “Retweet” should appear somewhere in the middle. You can choose that option to have the entire message along with the original user’s photo thumbnail and name pushed to your personal Twitter stream, which all of your followers should see. Below it, the tweet will have an arrow icon with gray text saying “Retweeted by username,” where username is you.

Now if you don’t want to have someone’s entire message, name and photo thumbnail displayed on your Twitter stream or if you want to make some changes, you have a couple other options.

RT @username: If you want to manually Twitter RT another user’s tweet, you can do that by copying the original message and adding “RT @username” in front of it where @username is the particular user’s Twitter handle. Putting “RT @username” in front of the tweet will send a reply (found under the Replies tab) to the user, letting them know that you gave them a RT.

Adding a message + RT @username: You can modify the “RT @username” by adding a personal comment right before it. For example, if you’re answering a question or adding your own thoughts to someone else’s tweet, the “RT” helps separate your comment from the retweeted message.

For example, if a Twitter user tweeted the message: “How are you enjoying the weather today?” then you might tweet the following:

“Love it! Hot and sunny today! RT @username How are you enjoying the weather today?”

It’s standard Twitter practice to sometimes add a comment, followed by the “RT @username” followed by the tweet. Sometimes a user will edit the tweet a little bit so that everything fits within Twitter’s 140-character limit. Keep in mind that adding “RT @username” takes up character space in every tweeted limited to 140 characters.

Why RT Someone on Twitter?

Besides wanting to redistribute a message you like or agree with, why would you ever want to really retweet somebody?

To get noticed: It’s hard to get noticed by keeping to yourself. When you retweet somebody, it shows up in their @Connect stream under Interactions and/or Mentions.

To build relationships: Users like it when they’re stuff gets retweeted. They may reach out to you and thank you for retweeting them, or they may return the favor and give you a RT!

To push messages out to more people: A few lucky individuals who’ve been given a RT by a big celebrity on Twitter usually gets a lot in return. If you can get your message out to more people, you’ll usually end up expanding your social circle on Twitter.

To build more followers: Sometimes, all it takes is one tweet to attract more followers. Other people RTing you may reach people you haven’t connected with, and if you’re lucky, they may see your message and decide to push that big “Follow” button on your profile.

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