Twitter Tip TuesdayTwitter Tip Tuesday is a weekly blog series from Sprout Social: Insights.

Every Tuesday we’ll focus on just one (1) Twitter Tip and show you how to integrate it into your social media strategy.

Today’s Twitter Tip Tuesday: What is a Twitter ReTweet?

A ‘ReTweet’, or ‘RT’, is a way to publicly give credit for someone else’s tweet that you pass along or ‘Re-Tweet’ to your followers.

Retweets can be written in several ways, by placing RT, rt, or r/t – usually (but not necessarily) at the beginning of a tweet.

Here’s an example:

Jim tweets: I love tulips in the spring!

Mary, who follows Jim, then Retweets: RT @Jim: I love tulips in the spring

It’s also quite acceptable for Mary to add her own comment to the tweet:

Me too! RT @Jim: I love tulips in the spring

Bill, who follows Mary (but not Jim) now knows about Jim’s love of tulips. Assuming a mutual love of tulips, Bill may start following Jim because he saw Mary’s RT.

Now – replace “mutual love of tulips” with “work in the high tech industry” or “interest in open data” or “support of their business” or “passion for the arts” and you can see how the act of retweeting on Twitter can spread one’s message farther and wider than one may have originally anticipated. Which is a very good thing if you are using Twitter for your business.

Traditional Retweets vs. New Style Retweets

Traditional Retweets were a way to build your following, your credibility, your associations with like minded people, and even build your business through strategic alliances.

But there were some challenges:

  • Could you trust the Retweeter to be faithful to your original message or would they change it, thereby changing its meaning?
  • What if the Retweeter inserted their own link in your message, redirecting people to their content instead?
  • Would you continue to be credited as the original poster if the string of Retweeters became too long?

With the native Twitter (or “new style”) Retweet, introduced in late 2009, it is not possible to append, edit or otherwise change a tweet. The time line appears “cleaner” according to Twitter.

However, people you don’t know are now showing up in your timeline. In the case above, you may follow Mary but not Jim, yet Jim’s avatar will be the one you and your followers see in your timeline.

Depending on your Twitter client, it now becomes very difficult to know whether or not you’re being Retweeted and who is doing the Retweeting.

Most Twitter clients allow you to choose your Retweet style. If you value a clean timeline, chose the “new style” or native Twitter Retweet. If you want to connect with people, and allow people to see you not only as a contributing member of the Twitter community, but also as an authority and curator of interesting information, use the “traditional” or user generated convention of Retweeting.

What style of Retweet do you prefer? Let is know by leaving your Twitter handle in the comments below and we’ll Retweet you!