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Is it better to Retweet old-school style, or use Twitter’s Retweet function?

October 31, 2010
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[tweetmeme] Whether it is better and more productive to Retweet old-school style or with just one-click using Twitter’s Retweet function is a question I have been asking myself for months now, and the truth is I just don’t know the answer yet. Both methods have their pros and cons, and without asking my followers, it’s hard to say with conviction which is the better Retweet method. So I am asking my followers:

TWTPOLL: Is it better to Retweet old-school style,
or use Twitter’s Retweet function?

Twitter’s Retweet Function
Simply click “Retweet”

Pros of Twitter’s Retweet Function:

1) The logo of the profile that you are Retweeting is sent out to your followers. This makes your Tweets richer, more interesting, more varied, and sends a message that you are a generous Twitterer. Etiquette is very subtle on Twitter, and promoting others often reflects well upon you and your organization. Retweet unto others as you would have them Retweet unto you. That’s the Gold Rule of Twitter, and Twitter’s Retweet functionality is the epitome of this rule in action.

2) It’s easy. Two clicks and the Tweet is sent.

3) Twitter only counts the content of the Tweet (minus the Twitter username) as characters towards the 140-character limit, so you can Retweet longer Tweets.

4) You can view an archive of all your Retweets under “Retweets > Retweets by you.”

5) Your “Profile” view just doesn’t have Tweets with your logo (it’s all about me!), but also the logo of those you have Retweeted:

Cons of Twitter’s Retweet Function:

1) Your followers may unfollow you if you send out a Tweet/logo/brand that they don’t recognize (or like/agree with). When Twitter first launched the Retweet functionality, it actually made me lose followers when I used it, so I didn’t. But I have been experimenting with it over the last two weeks and that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. After a year in use, perhaps the Twitterverse has become more accustomed and more tolerant of seeing Tweets in their “Home” view from Twitter profiles that they aren’t following?

2) You can’t edit the Retweets before they are sent out, and some Tweets really need to be edited for spelling, punctuation, and hashtag spamming! 🙂

Old School Retweeting
Copy Tweet, hit “Reply”, paste Tweet, add “RT” in front, click “Tweet”

Pros of Old School Retweeting:

1) Your logo goes out with the Tweet to your followers, not that of the profile being ReTweeted. Your followers are accustomed to seeing your Tweets and logo, not those of profiles they most likely are not following. Even if they are not interested in the content of the Tweet, they are still likely to continue to follow you if it is your logo.

2) You can customize or edit the Tweets.

Cons of Old School Retweeting:

1) You are more limited in characters because you have to add “RT” and the Twitter username of the profile you are Retweeting.

2) Twitter’s Retweet function has been around now for almost a year, so continuing to Retweet old-school style when many others have moved on to Twitter’s Retweet functionality may send a subtle message that it’s all about you and your Tweets.

What do you think? Is is better to Retweet old-school style, or using Twitter’s Retweet function, and why? Personally, though I may lose followers by using Twitter’s Retweet function, I am going to stick with it since @NonprofitOrgs primary purpose is to promote nonprofits. 🙂

Related Links:
American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) on Twitter
The Humane Society of the United States on Twitter
Webinar: How Nonprofits Can Successfully Use Twitter and Twitter Apps

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. October 31, 2010 9:09 am

    I usually RT new style, unless I want to comment on what was said.

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      October 31, 2010 9:10 am

      Yeah… starting to think that makes better sense for nonprofits. It sometimes seems it even gets me more followers. 🙂

  2. October 31, 2010 12:46 pm

    Ditto to what Colby Said; “I usually RT new style, unless I want to comment on what was said.”

    That’s exactly the way we do it. I do find however that the old RT method is useful for making sense out of your direct replies to tweets sent directly to you. That way, your followers get a sense of what you’re up to and who you’re conversing with. Otherwise your msgs can be an annoyance in their timelines.

  3. kfchris permalink
    October 31, 2010 11:37 pm

    Most of the time, I want to add my own spin to a message I retweet, so Old School RT is usually the only viable option for me. If I could edit the messages with new style retweets I’d probably use it more often.

  4. November 1, 2010 8:06 am

    I mix it up. Since I generally comment about what I retweet, I like to use the “old school” method. But if the original tweet is long, I’ll use Twitter’s RT function.

    On a somewhat related note, I regularly check the “Retweets by Others” tab to see what people I follow find interesting. It gives me a sense of what they’re interested in and what resonates with them.

    • Les Argen permalink
      November 18, 2010 2:34 am

      Hi Mary Ann,

      I hadn’t thought of ever looking at that retweets by others tab, but that’s a really good tip. Am going to start doing it.

  5. ColoradoDan permalink
    November 1, 2010 8:35 am

    Also depends on whether you need to count the analytics for click-throughs, no? We use bit.ly or hootlet, and as a library want to count the clicks to be considered as dissemination on a cause. Is there a way to get this kind of click through data via Twitter with new style retweets? That’d make a huge difference, and be much more…generous to other Tweeters.

  6. November 1, 2010 10:34 am

    We mainly do new style because it’s so quick. As long as it’s still a good user experience for our followers then there shouldn’t be a problem with it.

    But I agree that most people will have a hard time figuring out you Retweeted them – I wish Twitter would improve this.

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      November 2, 2010 5:10 am

      Yeah… it’s a tough call. I am starting to think doing a little of both is the best option. All RTing old-style now that I have done it new style for two weeks seems a little to me, me, me, me, me! Fine for business, but nonprofits are all about serving/RTing others, right? 🙂

  7. November 1, 2010 9:13 pm

    I have my own method, and I switch up between that and the Retweet button based on what I want to say about the message.

    If I want to paraphrase or add my own comment, I’ll just tweet:

    Message, commentary, paraphrasing, etc > via @attributedtweeter

    That way, they get recognition, but I still get my say. It’s a nice balance.

    If I just want to pass something along or broadcast it for fellow Tweeters (to give them a leg up, or give the impression that I’m well-read on other relevant Twitter streams), then I use the Retweet.

  8. November 2, 2010 1:47 pm

    As others have said, I usually go with the “old school” RT because I like to comment on other tweets. I’ve used the new RT when the tweet was pretty long, or I just wanted to get something out quickly.

    I’d generally prefer that people RT us with the old school version, since we use Hoot Suite and it doesn’t show you who RT’d you, and I usually want to respond to people who share our content. I get annoyed at constantly having to go to the web version of Twitter to see who actually shared our content.

  9. November 3, 2010 9:24 am

    I think, as other have said, that a combination of the two styles works best for me in order to really offer the most value to my followers. Personally, I get annoyed by people who simply RT everything, without explaining why they found the link or Tweet helpful. But for those really wordy Tweets, the native Retweet button is absolutely necessary. I keep my Hootsuite defaulted to old-school retweet, but switch to the native Twitter version regularly. I find my sharing on Facebook to be similar, sometimes I just “Like” a thing, other times I share it with comments.

    • nonprofitorgs permalink
      November 3, 2010 2:09 pm

      Useful. Thanks! I’ll have to try Hootsuite one of these days when things slow down. 🙂

  10. Jack Nero permalink
    January 29, 2012 4:19 am

    I don’t use the RT style to give more merit and credit the original twitter. If I want to edit the tweet, then I make my own tweet.

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