When Twitter incorporated the ReTweet into their interface they did us all a disservice. Because they broke the Art of the Retweet. Today if you want to do an additive RT you have to use a tool like Tweetdeck or Hootsuite. Or copy and past the entire tweet back into Twitter… and well… you won't do it. So today most people retweet by simply hitting the Retweet link now provided on twitter's page.

Screen Shot 2013 08 28 at 8.33.58 AM The Art and Science of the ReTweet; or ReTweeting with a Twist

The problem is, this form of RT does two things wrong. 1. It does not allow you to JOIN the conversation, merely post or promote the tweet to your following. 2. It does not show up in other people's twitter feed unless they are following BOTH of you (the tweeter and the tweet-receiver). This post was originally written in 2009, before twitter.com did us all a disservice and demoted the power of the retweet. For all the Twitter wisdom you could ever want see my work-in-progress: The Twitter Way.

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Twitter is a wonderful beast. All changing, scamming, Oprahing millions of us trying to figure out how to use it to… What?

What are YOU using Twitter for?

  • To Learn.
  • To Sell.
  • To Discover Something New.
  • To Connect with New People.
  • As a Broadcast IM.
  • As a Sales Channel.
  • As a Business Opportunity.
  • To Have Fun and Joke Around.
  • Just Because It's New.

Does "microblogging" mean anything to you?

In the year (s) of tweeting behind me, I have developed some strategies for engaging my tweetstream that I hope might be helpful to you.

The illumination/discovery path for today is going to be the dreaded and most valuable tweet technique the RT, or ReTweet.

So here's how it works.

Part 1: Discovery – Someone tweets something you find helpful, amusing or dumb.

Part 2: Use the RT feature in your Twitter app du jour. (if your not using a Twitter app to manage Twitter, well… That's another post: Putting a Dashboard Around Twitter.)

Part 3: Be Additive and Subtractive.

Part 4: ReTweet.

So let's look at Part 3 more closely.

Additive: Adding your comment or twist on someones tweet to add value/humor/meaning/dialogue to the twittersphere.

I'll pull one off the stream right now and give an example:

picture 311 The Art and Science of the ReTweet; or ReTweeting with a Twist

So I will hit the RT button in Tweetdeck (my Twitter app of choice, you can see that Alex is using Tweetie — probably on a trendy iPhone!) and being my additive process.

[Here's the RT without any work from me] RT @BaldMan RT @BaldMan: Long line at Genuine Joe, but I wait as I need my caffeine.

But I am interested in adding to Alex's tweet in some way, usually to join or joke with Alex himself. And also, by ReTweeting Alex at all, to introduce my followers to BaldMan as a cool person to follow. Since I am following him and clearly ReTweeting with some joy his somewhat mundane "gettin coffee" tweet. (no offense Alex)

Some folks are happy to RT without modification, and I will do this occasionally if I am in a hurry and I REALLY DON'T WANT YOU TO MISS SOMETHING. But if I am connecting with BaldMan/Alex in any significant way, then I am will do my part to Twist or Comment on his Tweet via my ReTweet. (Have I lost you yet?)

[Here's my Additive RT of Alex's "gettin coffee" Tweet] RT @BaldMan: Long line at Genuine Joe, but I wait as I need my caffeine. >> Oh, boy Alex, mine's gone cold. Could'ya bring a warm up and pastry for me?

Dang, I'm at 151 characters. (Tweetdeck shows -11 in RED, so I know what I have to cut] So I have several choices. I can shorten my response. Since Alex and I no longer work together, my plea for a warm up is ficticious. And inside joke for us and a "connector."

Or… I can get subtractive of Alex's part, and fit my ADD by shortening his original Tweet.

So now for the Subtractive:

[Here's my Additive and Subtractive RT of Alex's "gettin coffee" Tweet] RT @BaldMan: Long line at Genuine Joe, but I wait as I need my caffeine. >> Oh, boy Alex, mine's gone cold. Could'ya bring a warm up and pastry for me?(Okay -1 still to go.)

RT @BaldMan: Long line at Genuine Joe, but I wait as I need my caffeine. >> Oh, boy Alex, mine's gone cold. Could'ya bring a warm up and pastry for me? (Okay +1 let's do it.)

picture 321 The Art and Science of the ReTweet; or ReTweeting with a Twist

Now I will often use different "offsets" to separate my comment from the original Tweet. Here are a couple of examples of how to call out your ADDITIVE tweet.

Double Carat: >> RT @BaldMan: Long line at Genuine Joe, but I need my caffeine. >> Oh, boy Alex, mine's gone cold. Could'ya bring warm up and pastry for me?

Brackets: [ ] RT @BaldMan: Long line at Genuine Joe, but I need my caffeine. [Oh, boy Alex, mine's gone cold. Could'ya bring warm up and pastry for me?]

Slash: / RT @BaldMan: Long line at Genuine Joe, but I need my caffeine. / Oh, boy Alex, mine's gone cold. Could'ya bring warm up and pastry for me?

I'd love to hear your retweeting strategies and "offsets."

It's a bit like English grammar and poetry. It's part of the ART of Twitter. And by being creative we can make people smile. It's not about business, it's about spirit!

@jmacofearth (also seen on Google+: jmacofearth)
permalink: http://uber.la/2013/08/retweeting/

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  • http://www.callboxinc.com/ Belinda Summers

    Way to go! Creative RT strategies here. Thanks. I usually used — in putting links or || and the above tips mentioned are really helpful in making RTs attractive. :)

  • http://uber.la jmacofearth

    Thanks for the comment. Yes, I wish Twitter would fix this. And reinstate lists as a very cool form of discovery.

  • http://www.praverb.net/ Praverb

    I love the idea of additive and subtractive RTs. Some people would suggest that MT or Modified Tweet can be used to for subtracting words to the original tweet.

    I prefer to use the standard RT. If I decide to add something to a tweet I will use brackets. I think I will try using the double carats in the future.

  • hiteshthakur034

    hey buddy,i m facing a lot of troubles to learn twitter about how to use it.I visited http://thetwittersecret.com/ some time ago to know abot the twitter applications which gave me a little information.

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