A friend of mine recently asked how he should approach retweeting a tweet and attach his own comment at the same time. A brilliant question and it made me think about how I personally retweet.
The ideal retweet:
To me the ideal retweet is no more than 125 characters (leaving room for RT @fransgaard) looks something like this:
My comment > RT > @username > the tweet including previous RT credits
However, some times there just isn’t enough characters.
Cleaning up the punctuation
As I have blogged about before, I am all for correct punctuation in tweets. But recently there’s been a surge in pseudo punctuation which isn’t needed to preserve the meaning of the sentence.
The two most widely (mis)use of non-essential punctuation is adding a : after the @username and adding ” ” around the retweeted tweet ending up with retweets that looks like this:
RT "@username: the tweet"
That’s three wasted characters as a start.
The other widely spread misuse of punctuation is the brackets in (via @username) which, including the word “via”, that up to 5 superfluous characters.
And combining these for second-hand retweets you can get tweets like:
RT "@username: the tweet (via @anotheruser)"
So first step should always be cleaning up the punctuation. Which easily saves 3-10 characters each time.
Another character eater is people retweeting retweets with duplication of the “RT” ending up with tweets like this:
RT @user RT @anotheruser RT @author the tweet
Quick house keeping saves 6 characters including spaces:
RT @user @anotheruser @author the tweet
Note that I do try to keep the letters RT in my retweets as much as possible to sign post where my comment stop and the original tweet starts.
Removing redundant # tags
This is a bit tricky but I tend to remove superfluous # tags, which I would describe as # tags on generic terms. For example:
RT @user having a #awesome day out in #London at #SMWLDN
This can easily be changed without losing the searchability of the tweet or any vital # tags to:
RT @user having a awesome day out in London at #SMWLDN
Changing the tweet in favour of losing people
Some tweets have credits going several retweets back. I personally try to keep all @usernames in the tweet in favour of editing the tweet as they after all led the tweet to me and should be credited for this.
Instead I am happy to amend the tweet and remove anything that doesn’t support what I personally want to convey by retweeting. For example:
RT @username Barclays' chief executive Bob Diamond has received £6.5 million to become Britain's best paid bank boss www.the.link
Here the bits I want to convey is what Barclay’s are paying their boss. I don’t actually care what his name is. Nor do I care whether he is the highest paid in Britain as I think the amount is obscene enough as is so my retweet would be:
RT @username Barclays' CEO received £6.5 million www.the.link
If rewriting the tweet isn’t enough I will first and foremost keep the @username of the person who brought the tweet to my attention and, if present, keep the @username of the author of the actual article.
Adding a comment
I personally prefer to add a small comment to retweets so people know why I retweeted if it isn’t immediately clear from the original tweet. They can be quite simple but enough to convey my view on the original tweet.
- ha ha
- like it!
- Good read
- Not sure this is right
- One for the bookmarks
- Great read but don’t agree with it all
I avoid using “I” as I believe it is obvious the comments are made by me.
Thanking people for RTs
A final point I’d like to make is I try to include people’s tweet if they retweet something I wrote… eg. this blog post ;-)… simply to promote my own stuff again like this:
Thanks for RT @yall brilliant read: Etiquette for retweeting http://t.co/NXGcrur
… and that’s how I retweet! It looks like a lot of work but it takes seconds and I think it is worth the effort.