In its simplest form, a retweet is when a Twitter user shares a tweet from another Twitter user. But there’s more to the story than that, namely the different types of retweets.
Two ways to retweet. The simplest way to repost a tweet is to click “retweet” and Twitter will automatically retweet the unadulterated post to the retweeter’s followers while still giving credit to the original poster. The tweet will appear as though it came directly from the original user with a small line of text noting who retweeted it. From a statistical standpoint, this appears as a retweet for the original content creator.
Originally, Twitter did not include the retweet feature and users had to manually copy tweets and repost them. To give credit to the original tweeter, they would type “retweet @username” followed by the post. This was quickly shortened to “RT @username” to make it easier to comply with Twitter’s original 140 character limit. Today, manually retweeting a post is still popular as it allows users to add their own commentary.
The downside to manual retweets is that Twitter does not count them as retweets for the original user, since they are in effect, new tweets (even if they contain a previous tweet’s content).
Twitter announced in late 2017 that it was doubling the character count from 140 to 280 characters. Since the change about 5% of all tweets typically run over 140 to about 190 characters. Well under the 280 limit. Why expand the count to 280? In the rapidly evolving world of social media, the additional characters may have use for video or other unforeseen reasons. Rule of thumb, less is more.
Modifying a Retweet. Sometimes you may want to retweet something and add commentary to someone’s tweet. Twitter allows you to modify an original post, you then simply retweet it. A modified tweet is still attributed to the original tweeter. Modified tweets generally eliminate some component (a hashtag, link or an image, for example) to make more space, however with the new expanded character count that may not be necessary any longer. Take great care to stay true to the original’s tweets intended message, never distort nor modify a tweet by taking the original message out of context. That’s just wrong. The wisdom of the crowd will hold you accountable!
Ellen DeGeneres’ Oscar selfie garnered over 3.4 million native retweets. If manual retweets were added, that number would be even higher.
Characters not counted in tweets include: photos, videos, GIFs, polls and Quote Tweets no longer eat into your character count. Hyperlinks however are still counted. One thing is for sure, digital media is constantly evolving and improving their platforms. Stay tuned.
Special to Hudson Valley Public Relations by Chris Barkley Associate
To learn more about engagement tactics on Twitter give us a call at 845.702.6226 or visit our website at www.hudsonvalleypublicrelations.com.