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What is a Retweet?

By S. Gonzales
Updated May 16, 2024
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A retweet is an activity on the website Twitter in which a user's comment, or tweet, is re-posted by another user. It can also refer to the re-posted tweet itself. Twitter users re-post messages on their own Twitter streams so that their set of followers can see the original tweet. Retweeting is a way to share or spread interesting, funny or important messages beyond the initial source. Retweeting can be accomplished simply by typing or pressing a button.

Users who come across an interesting tweet can simply hover across the tweet, find the "retweet" option and press it. A notification will ask the user to confirm that he or she wants to retweet the message to his or her followers. Users who do should press "Yes." Underneath the tweet, a message should show telling the user how many users have retweeted the same post.

Alternatively, Twitter users can retweet a post manually. To do this, users can arrive at their update field and type "RT," short for "retweet," into it and press the space bar. This will let a user's followers know that what they're about to read has been posted elsewhere first. Then, users can type the "@" symbol and copy and paste the username of the original tweet's author directly after the symbol. For example, if the original poster's name were "TwitterUser," a retweeter would type "RT @TwitterUser" into the box.

Those posting a retweet can then press the space bar again. After that, they should copy and paste the tweet that they'd like to re-post. Using the example above, if the retweet were, "This has been retweeted," the entry in the status update box would look like this: "RT @TwitterUser This has been retweeted." Finally, the retweeter can press "Tweet" or the update button so that his or her Twitter stream will be updated with the retweet, and his or her followers will see it.

Whichever way a Twitter user retweets a message, the user needs to make sure that credit is given to the original poster. Many users new to Twitter make the mistake of simply copying an attractive tweet and updating their Twitter status with it without mentioning the original author. This is considered to be a Twitter faux pas.

A benefit of retweeting is that it can help build relationships with other Twitter users. Retweets that have been done correctly are accessible to the original posters, and they can see which users have retweeted their posts. Retweeting can result in an increase in followers for the original poster, so the original poster might respond by retweeting a retweeter's original posts, too.

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