What Is a Retweet on Twitter?

An Intro to Retweeting Other Twitter Users' Tweets

Photo © Peter Dazeley / Getty Images

Tweeting? Retweeting? What's the difference?

There sure are some peculiar terms to know as a Twitter user, but with a little extra information and practice using them yourself, you'll get the hang of them in no time.

What It Means to 'Retweet' Someone on Twitter

A "retweet" is simply a repost of another Twitter user's tweet on your own profile to show to your own followers. Like hashtags, retweets are a community-driven phenomenon on Twitter that helps make the service better and allow people to spread discussions easier.

If you're familiar with Facebook, then you may have already seen a friend reshare a post that was originally posted by one of their own friends or one of the public pages they've liked. Facebook resharing is basically the same as Twitter retweeting.

How do I Retweet Someone Else's Tweet?

Retweeting is very easy. You should check out How Twitter Retweets Work for detailed information on exactly how it's done, but in general, all you have to do is look for the double arrow retweet button displayed beneath every tweet and click it (if you're using the desktop web) or tap it (if you're using a mobile device).

You'll have the option to add a message of your own with the retweet before it's reposted to your profile, or simply leave it blank and retweet it just as it is. That user's tweet will then be automatically embedded in your profile and they will receive a notification that you retweeted them.

What Are the Benefits of Retweeting?

When you retweet somebody else's tweet, you're essentially interacting with them. Unless they get a ton of interaction with thousands of followers and have a hard time keeping up with notifications, they'll notice your retweet and they may decide to connect with you or possibly even return the favor.

You're also introducing valuable information and suggesting new voices to follow, to your own followers. Retweeting is what spreads good information fast and makes things go viral.

If you tweet something really great and a big influencer decides to retweet you, their followers will see your tweet and they may end up retweeting you as well or even following you. It's really the best way to get the word out about anything worth sharing and the build your own engagement.

When Should I Retweet?

There are no set rules about when to retweet, but in general, you should retweet when anything particularly interesting or noteworthy that other people (your followers) would benefit from seeing as well. For example, if someone you follow tweets something absolutely hilarious that you think would be amusing to your own followers as well, that would be a great time to retweet it. Or, if you want to let your followers in on a conversation you are having, that would be another good time to retweet.

Avoid retweeting tweets simply because you have nothing else to tweet. If the tweet is meaningful to you in some way, by all means, retweet it. But avoid tweeting simply because it showed up in your feed. Retweeting too much can look a lot like Twitter spam, and you risk being unfollowed or being put on mute by some of your existing followers.

There's a bit of a trend among Twitter users who put a "retweets are not endorsements" disclaimer in their bios. Sometimes, retweets give others the impression that the retweeter is agreeing with or supporting the original user who tweeted it, but often they simply retweeted it just to inform their followers of conversations and issues that are being discussed.

Remember that retweeting is all about having fun, being social, and sharing stuff worth sharing. Try it and see how it works for you!

Next recommended article: What Is a Subtweet?

Updated by: Elise Moreau