RT vs. Official Twitter Retweets (The Great Debate)

I figured in the midst of all my final projects and presentations I’d take a little bit of time to clear my head and talk about something unrelated (I know we are all suffering so hopefully this post can feed into all of your attempts at procrastination).

I also feel the need to mention that with the NHL playoffs starting tomorrow, the NBA playoffs next week along with the MLB season being underway and the NFL draft closing in (wow a sports fan dream!) sports are going to get quite a bit of my attention over the next couple of weeks. In the mean time let’s stick to a marketing topic that up until recently has caused some confusion for me. I did some digging and have come up with a basic explanation for the aforementioned title of this post.

I assume most you have a Twitter. I also assume if you aren’t an avid user you at least have an account created that occasionally gets checked when you are bored out of your mind (believe me before I really understood it I was the same way). For those of you who do not have a Twitter this post may still be relevant since curiosity is one of the many things that makes us human and after all this is the “Great Debate!” (not with Forrest Whitaker although I do love his lazy eye…)

Although I have only been on Twitter for the past year from doing my reading I found out that Retweeting was developed organically from Twitter users and blossomed into an effective way to express one’s feedback and build connections. It is also a super effective way to get your name out there in the Twitter universe and to gain followers. How you might ask? By those Tweeters who are already established seeing you Retweet someone they already follow or whose opinion they too agree with. *Simplified* How do you meet new friends growing up? You start to play with them because they like the same things you do…BOOM! (how much simpler can it get???)

Now we get down to the main topic of the night the use of the original form of Retweeting (typing out “RT”) vs the fairly new (introduced in 2009) Official Retweet button.

OLD: “RT @username”- this was originally done to share someone else’s news while giving them credit for it (plagiarism is so driven into our heads at school that my suspicion is that it carried on over to the social media universe). The main uses of the old form of Retweeting were to:

1) Share news that peaked your interest from your Twitter stream

2) Give that all important credit to the original author (NO PLAGIARIZING!!!)

3) Edit the original retweet for it to fit the 140-character limit

So you may now be curious as to what were the benefits of  the original “RT”?

1) It has a separate page

2) It is reflected in every participant’s stream

3) It allows you to put your own style into the post by being able to add/subtract what you’d like from it

4) It is caught by Twitter search and therefore by all Retweet counter buttons

Now it’s time to explain the newer and more common form of Retweeting: The Official Retweet button.

Similar to the “like” feature on Facebook posts, clicking “Retweet” allows you to essentially take another person’s tweet and tweet it out yourself. The major differences are:

1) It will not display your Twitter handle or avatar, but instead shows the original authors name and avatar.

2) Your retweet is not treated as a separate tweet (it doesn’t have a separate URL which means it can’t be found using Twitter search, cannot be referenced, etc). It’s rather a vote.

The biggest advantage to this style of tweeting is:

It offers a quick way to look up all past forms of Retweeting! You can access all Retweets by your friends in “Retweets”->”Retweets by others”section on your Twitter homepage. Similarly, you can see who retweeted one of your tweets by going to the “Retweets”->”Your Tweets, retweeted” column.

Bottom line (in case you do not want to read any of that and are sitting there saying Brad for Godsakes get to the point!):

The old “RT” is best used when you want to retweet an idea and add your style of writing/opinion to it, where as the newer Retweet button is best used in the same way you’d “like” a Facebook post, as a way to say “hey this is a cool idea I support it!”

I hope this post clarified and not further confused this debate, but the reality of it is either can be used and both seem to be accepted throughout the Twitter universe. If I left anything out or you have any questions feel free to throw them down in the comments section. This has been something I really wanted clarification to so I figured others might as well!

Coming up tomorrow will be my preview/prediction on the Sabres vs. Flyers series, which kicks off Thursday at 7:35pm. While I will get into that tomorrow for now I will leave you with a simple: Let’s Go Buffalo!!!

Sources: http://www.blueglass.com/blog/rt-versus-official-twitter-retweets-how-are-they-different/


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