Sunday, August 7, 2011

Today's Twitter Etiquette Lesson -- Retweeting

From the inbox, an email from NOI, the folks that brought me fame (but, alas, no fortune) as a panelist, regarding the use of a Twitter feature, the automatic retweet button:
Recently, Matt Stempeck recommended that you use the official RT feature on Twitter. I’m here to recommend that you DON’T use it, at least not for advocacy tweeting.

Why not? Say you’re tweeting about someone, and you want them to be flooded with mentions when people start retweeting you. Twitter and most Twitter clients will not show your target a tweet in which they are mentioned if the re-tweeter uses the retweet button. However, that person will see every retweet, if people use the traditional RT.

For example, you tweet:
Hey @BarackObama – Why haven’t you put solar panels on the White House yet?
If 30 people hit the retweet button, President Obama will only see your one tweet. He will not know that 30 people retweeted your question.

However, he will see the tweet 30 times if your followers tweet this instead:
RT @YourTwitterHandle: Hey @BarackObama – Why haven’t you put solar panels on the White House yet?
This means it’s your responsibility on advocacy tweets to make sure that you include enough characters for someone to do the traditional RT. These traditional RT’s are much more effective in terms of advocacy and putting pressure on decision makers.

For those newer to Twitter, the retweet function was created a little over a year ago. Before that, any retweet had to be done by adding "RT @Whoever" to the beginning of the tweet, hence the name “traditional RT.” The retweet button is a perfectly legitimate form of tweeting and spreading information. It allows you to share information easily, but unfortunately it diminishes the power of direct advocacy on Twitter. So if you’re trying to get someone’s attention by swamping them with mentions, have people do the “traditional RT” instead of using the RT button!
The more you know...

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