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Twitter: How and When to Retweet

Updated on September 30, 2009

Twitter is a fabulous social media network which most people have at least heard of by now. If you're new to Twitter, however, it may seem a bit overwhelming as you try to figure out the general rules of tweeting etiquette. While there are various practices and uses for various twitter tools such as hashtags and the like, Retweeting is something a lot of people seem to be somewhat unaware of in terms of what the point is, and how to do it properly. Retweeting badly can alienate your tweeps and retweeting well can get you more tweeps. Read on for some basic tips on how to retweet and when to do it. (And feel free to follow me on Twitter if you like!)

1. Don't retweet yourself.

I have seen a lot of people do this. The first few times your tweeps will just assume you don't know what you're doing. The 10th and 11th time they will think you're just full of yourself. Retweeting (RTing) is not meant as a tool to retweet yourself, it's meant for retweeting other peoples' tweets. If you want to repeat your own tweets, simply repeat them.

2. Retweet things worth retweeting.

It's great that it's sunny in southern California today, but just because someone who lives there has tweeted as much doesn't mean those us of not following that person are going to care. If you retweet useless, inane information that is how people will come to think of you.

3. Don't retweet the same tweet 50 times in one day.

It's fine to retweet something several times but you don't need to RT something every hour. Twitter isn't a chat board where you need to bump threads that haven't been posted to recently. If people want to see what you've been tweeting they will have you in a group where your tweets will be readily visible, or they will go right to your page and catch up that way. Tweeting the same thing over and over again will not make more people see it and could very well result in people unfollowing you.

4. Don't cut off other people's tweets when you're retweeting.

I have had a lot of people do this to my own tweets and I find it very annoying. If I've tweeting something you want enjoyed and you want to share it with other people, that's very flattering and I thank you -- but if you've deleted half of my tweet in the process because you wanted to add your own genius as a preface, then you've completely destroyed my tweet. Not only will people have no idea what I said, they will think you meant to send me an @ reply but RT'd my tweet instead.

5. Don't retweet celebrity tweets in the hope of getting their attention.

If you're someone who follows celebrities on Twitter and you'd like to engage them directly, try sending them an @ reply as opposed to RTing all of their tweets. If we wanted to read their tweets, we'd be following them ourselves. Twitter groupies are no better than backstage groupies!


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