Do You Retweet or Re-Tweet?

The difference explained

The fundamental difference between a retweet and a re-tweet is more than just a hyphen. If Twitter had a dictionary, they'd have completely distinct definitions too. Here's the difference between the two terms.

What Is a Retweet?

A retweet is an integral Twitter function. It was once jargon used by Twitter users and is now a permanent action in the social media platform's interface.

To retweet is to re-post what someone else tweets. Before Twitter built the functionality into its interface, users would manually retweet by adding the letters "RT" into their message.

The reason why someone retweets is to share something they think is worth sharing with their followers. It might be an article or a good quote. The retweet always includes the @username of the person who originally tweeted it, so credit isn't lost. When the message is truncated to fit 280 characters, as it often needs to be, the retweeter may change their RT to an MT, which stands for "modified tweet."

Here are a couple of examples of manually written retweets:

  • I loved this article! RT @username Here are ten ways to know the difference between retweeting and re-tweeting
  • Right on! RT "Make every detail perfect, and limit the number of details to perfect." — @jack.

What Is a Re-Tweet?

To "re-tweet" is to recycle your own message. There's no associated Twitter button or a special way to do it. It's just a way to define which version of the jargon requires a hyphen.

For example, many businesses post several articles per week on their blogs. You can schedule the tweets that promote those articles ahead of time. This increases the longevity of the post by making sure it pops up in feeds for more than one day. Not everyone is looking when the first tweet goes out. Within a few minutes, that first pass is the past, buried under dozens or scores of other tweets.

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