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

May
15
2009

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

Category: social media,tech opinion,tools,trust & reputationjmacofearth @ 8:00 am

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 josh 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 examples.

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/2009/05/retweeting/

Check out the Social Media for Business page and these other posts about learning social media:

It’s been a great year. Thanks for being part of it. See the 2011 Summary and Best of 2012!


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