You’ve sent a few tweets over the past week– hopefully you’ve found plenty in your everyday routine as an academic which would be of interest to others. However it would be hard work to generate all the material yourself to feed your followers with regular, interesting tweets. You don’t have to – you can retweet the tweets of others. Read through the essential information and then complete today’s task on retweeting.
Retweeting is like forwarding an email, but to everyone who’s following you. They see the content of the original tweet, who it came from originally, and perhaps also a contextualising comment from you. We’ve been retweeting items we hoped might be of interest to you and our other followers on @UCDTL over the last week.By retweeting, you’re performing a valuable service:
- to your followers, by sifting the stream of information available to them, filtering out what’s potentially interesting to them, and also by making them aware of potential new contacts they can add to their network.
- to the people you follow, by amplifying their message and spreading it outside their network
- and you’re displaying to others that you’re connected to interesting people and that you are a discerning judge of what information is interesting and significant.
How to retweet
There are number of ways that you can retweet:
1. Simply click on the ‘retweet’ button which appears below each tweet when you hover over it. The message will then appear in your followers’ twitter streams as if it appeared from the original sender, even though they may not follow them. The tweet that they see will be marked with ‘retweeted by @yourname’ in small lettering, so if they look, they can tell that it was you who retweeted it.
2. The more effective way to retweet is to add a comment of your own to the original tweet. The etiquette around retweeting is very much in sympathy with academic conventions of acknowledgement. You can quote the tweet by copying and pasting the text into your own tweet and sending it from your own account. However, that would make it look as if you’re claiming that it’s your tweet. To clarify that you’re retweeting, the convention is to
- start the tweet by adding a comment of your own (even a few words). If you don’t add any comment, then your retweet may be ambiguous – are you endorsing the original tweet? Plus, it may add context, value and character for your followers if you add something of your own.
- write RT (which stands for retweet) and then the original tweeter’s @name
- copy and paste the text of their original tweet.
The result will look something like this:
3. Finally if you opt to cut-out any part of the original tweet that you feel is unnecessary, or to make space for your own comment, it is polite to signal this by writing MT (modified tweet) instead of RT.
Remember that to use Twitter effectively you need to update frequently with interesting content to gain a following, and you also need to reciprocate by engaging with and promoting the ideas/work of others.