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30 Twitter tips hath September: The art of the retweet

September 17, 2009

In September, we’re offering a Twitter tip a day. Send us your thoughts and suggestions.

[Tweet this tip]
Day 15: The art of the retweet: Do it often,
give credit and use proper syntax.

You may skip this one if it seems too rudimentary, but I often see new businesses and individuals get tripped up with retweets.

And I forget that the Twitter Web interface makes it harder than need be.

  1. Do it often. Retweet what your friends are putting out there. If they’re not putting out good stuff, get new friends. (And no, I’m not kidding.)
  2. Give credit to the source. It may have been retweeted a few times before you saw it, so I leave it to your discretion as to how many to include. But, and this is important, you must have spaces (or punctuation) around the @name. This ensures that the original twitterer will see it as an @mention in her stream. Note the difference: yes to “RT @WadeOnTweets This is a great article on …” but no to “RT @WadeOnTweetsThis is a great article on …” That one missing space makes a huge difference.
  3. Use proper syntax. You will see “RT,” “R/T,” “retweet,” “via” and even “HT” or “H/T” or “hat tip.” I suggest “RT” if it’s a direct quote and “via” if you change it a little or tighten it up (which I often do). And if you change it completely, use “hat tip” because I don’t think most are familiar with “HT.”

Bonus tip: Please check the link before retweeting. Even better, check the info. If you mindlessly retweet junk, you are helping no one. Be a discerning twitterer, even if you have to spend an extra 15 seconds clicking through the link.

So how do you actually retweet on the Web interface? Copy the tweet, paste it in the box, type “RT @” and copy/paste the twitterer’s name. Feel free to clean up the tweet (especially if it’s over 140 characters or has previous twitterers scattered all over the tweet.

Or better yet, use the Power Twitter plug-in, which helpfully includes a RT button. (We’ll suggest other programs in a future tip.)

Questions or suggestions? Fire away in the comments.

Follow @WadeOnTweets for more Twitter fun.
30 Twitter tips hath September

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