Why you should Retweet your friends on Twitter


What’s the deal with the RTs?

Every once in a while on Twitter, you will notice that at the beginning of a tweet, there are the letters “RT” before the actual comment or link. If you followed the advice on my last post about starting and becoming a master on Twitter and have downloaded TweetDeck , you would easily know that RT is short for Retweet.

A Retweet simply indicates that a person values a tweet so much that she tweets it word for word to her followers so that they can benefit from it too. Being Retweeted is a high honor because it means that people are willing to put their own reputation on the line and risk losing followers just to get your message across to more people.

Even Tech Crunch and some Twitter Experts consider Retweets the best indicators of a person’s authority and influence on Twitter (as opposed to follower count). There are also numerous sites that just track Retweeted topics or how many Retweets a person has.

Clearly, Retweets has its place of significance on Twitter, and you should RT often. Why?

1. Creating Value for your Twitter Followers

Twitter is micro-blogging. Just like blogging, people will only read your tweets if it creates value for them. You need to tweet things that are brilliant, hilarious, amazing, ingenious, unique or at least interesting to your followers to make them feel that you are worth the follow. However, you can’t always come up with the best things yourself. Retweeting is a great way to be that provider of great information without doing the work yourself.

2. Get noticed by the people you are Retweeting


How often do you follow someone on Twitter without her following you back? You may have sent @ messages to that person, but you know she gets 400 everyday so she doesn’t respond to you anyway. But you still want to get noticed. A good way for people to notice you is to Retweet what they have to say. Most influencers on Twitter do a keyword search on their own name, so if you Retweet them, they WILL see it. After Retweeting them a few times, they may become more familiar with you, follow you if you are interesting, or even Retweet your stuff as a gesture of gratitude!

3. Teach your followers how to Retweet

No matter how brilliant your tweets are, none of your followers will retweet what you have to say if they don’t know what retweeting is or don’t know how to do it. That’s why you have to educate them. By regularly retweeting good content, your followers will begin to understand what this RT business is all about, and they may begin to Retweet your stuff too. If every single one of your followers know how to retweet, you’ll start seeing your name pile up on the Retweet Ranks!

11 comments
Robert
Robert

Yukai, how do you go about retweeting? I'm not on twitter right now, but when I go to the site, is there a button or something, or do you just write "RT" before something?

Ronda Broughton
Ronda Broughton

Thanks for the tip on searching your own name to guage retweets. Was looking for a tool that did that.

Yu-kai Chou
Yu-kai Chou

@Ru: Haha, of course. People should ALWAYS include the link on their RTs. What's the point of RTing if you don't include the most important content? :) Btw, why do you do keyword search for Tweetscoop? Can't you just click onto that word and it takes you to the stream?

Ru
Ru

yes you can. I did not describe that correctly. The click would demonstrate my problem.(assuming content is not in rt) Twitter so far is composed of early adopters. Can you expect this issue to disappear knowing less tech inclined people will be adopting it in mass soon.

Yu-kai Chou
Yu-kai Chou

That's a good idea Joseph! Especially the adding your own thoughts one. However no one knows what they say will be RTed, so who will assign the tag value? I've actually never seen a RT flood my stream. At most I see 2-3 of them when its something that's all over Twitter. In that case, I should take a good look at it too.

Yu-kai Chou
Yu-kai Chou

@Lily: haha! Google Reader is pretty good. I use a lot of Netvibes for my RSS feeds. Don't worry, I'm going to lose weight by being healthy :) @Jun: You....waaaa! :P

Ru
Ru

Yes, it is not possible to create a threaded conversion unless each tweet has a unique id. I do often find rt to be annoying though. One example is if you see something is trending on twitscoop, then search keyword. You will find many rts and often have to dig to find content. (this problem only occurs when the rt does not contain link)

Joseph Hsu
Joseph Hsu

One of the biggest problems is RT kills the stream with repetition. I think a better way might be maybe if users could use a convention such as #1234567 (being the status update ID) which would link to the original update, then that would leave room for a user to comment on a RT which would add value.

Jun Loayza
Jun Loayza

@Lily - I don't think Yu-kai has the strength or discipline to lose the weight. I bet that when I go up at the end of the month, Yu-kai's beard will touch his chest. Yup, that's a challenge my friend :P

Lily
Lily

Really like this post and the first twitter post! Very beneficial! I am on a technology crash course right now - just started google reader a few days ago. And you sure about this diet thing? Just make sure don't sacrifice your health.

Yu-kai Chou
Yu-kai Chou

Thanks Robert. On Twitter.com, you just need to put RT and then the name @yukai_chou before the tweet and it works. For articles, you can click the "retweet" button on the top of an article. And finally, other applications like Seesmic Desktop and Tweetdeck have retweet buttons.

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  1. […] OR Ingenious OR Amazing OR Hilarious” to find things that are extraordinary and worth Retweeting about. Sometimes I would like to modify these terms. Both clients force me to delete the current […]