Retweet With a Comment on Twitter

Don't Use the Retweet Button; Add Your Own Voice

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Learning how to retweet with a comment on Twitter is important if you want to be seen as a knowledgeable Twitter user. Retweet literally means to tweet again, which on Twitter means sending someone else's tweet to your own followers.

It may seem easy to retweet someone else's tweet by hitting the "retweet" icon beneath the tweet that you want to forward to your followers. But that is NOT a savvy way to retweet.

Don't Hit That Retweet Button!

Except for when you're in a big hurry, the retweet button is to be avoided at all costs. Why? Because using Twitter's retweet button automatically zaps the message out to your followers without allowing you to add a message or thought of your own.

Manual Retweeting is Better

It's much better to use the manual retweet process than do automated retweeting, because manually retweeting allow you to you add your own message. Twitter's retweet button simply forwards the message you saw to all your followers, and it appears in the exact same format as you saw it.

The automated retweet button also makes it harder for your followers to realize that you were the one who sent it to them--a quick glance at the tweet, which is all many people give their twitter stream, shows the original author first.

But the ability to add a comment is the main reason to avoid automated retweets.

Throw in Your Two Cents

Good retweeting really does involve adding a little something of your own-- your thoughts about the tweet or topic. Even a simple "But why?," "Yes, yes" or "Love it!" before the tweet you are retransmitting will signal to your followers that you're present and thinking. You might even abbreviate the original message to make space for your thought about it.

Another downside of automated forwarding through the retweet button is that the person you're retweeting is less likely to see or know that you've retweeted them. By contrast, if you manually retweet and add @theirusername to the beginning of the message, the original sender is more likely to become aware of your message because it will show up in their @mentions area.

To make room for a short comment of your own, you can abbreviate some words in the original sender's message, but never edit or change the substance of a tweet you are passing along.

How to Do a Manual Retweet

One way to manually retweet is to copy and paste the original sender's Twitter username (not their full name, just the user handle) and tweet into your own tweet box. Put the @ symbol in front of their handle and "RT" in front of that, with a space between RT and the @username, so it should read: "RTspace@usernamespaceFullTweetgoeshere."

Then insert your own comment at the very start of that tweet, something very short like "Amen" or "Not a chance" or whatever. Inserting the @username of the original sender makes it more likely that the original sender will see it than if you automated the retweet, in which case their username goes above the tweet.

When you're done, click the "Tweet" button to send the message

You can use various formats for manual retweeting. You can put either "RT" or "Retweet" in front of the @username of the original sender, for example. But be sure to do one or the other to indicate that this message is someone else's.

This distinction between manual and automatic retweeting applies to the Twitter website and mobile app. Some Twitter management apps such as TweetDeck and HootSuite, however, have retweet functions that do automate the process and still allow you to add your own comment. So if you're using a dashboard app, you might be able to use the retweet button from within that app. But if you're using Twitter's website, it's a good idea to avoid that retweet button.

Twitter's Retweet Advice

In its Help Center, Twitter offers advice on how to retweet, so if the interface and method changes in the future, this retweet page likely will be updated.

Twitter Language Guide

If you're new to Twitter and still baffled by the lingo, our Twitter Language guide can help decipher the jargon.