TO RT OR NOT TO RT
If you’ve used ‘official’ Twitter for any length of time, one complaint that has continually popped up is not being able to RT and simultaneously add a comment. Those who prefer to add a comment have had to modify (MT) an original tweet (while all the time trying not to lose its essence) or resort to a simple RT. This is why I’ve long been an advocate of keeping tweets short and sweet, thus leaving room to RT without going over 140 characters. The RT with comment function has been available for years via 3rd Party Twitter smartphone apps but Twitter has taken a while to catch up.
Well, it’s finally happened!
A couple of weeks ago Twitter announced it was rolling out its own capability to RT with a comment attached. I was eager to see how it would work and I have to say at first glance I was not a fan. But as of a week ago, I’m a convert. Twitter upped the ante considerably in the RT with comment department.
So let’s go through the different options and steps we may now take on the official Twitter platform to RT a tweet.
We will still tap on the RT icon, but now this is what we will see:
If we decide on a simple RT, tap Retweet and send it on its way. IF we want to add value to your re-tweet, we use the comment box. Twitter is generously giving us 116 characters to play with and this is where Twitter scores big, in my opinion. 116 characters gives plenty of room for thoughts, opinion, questions, or simple an explanation as to why we re-tweeted, etc., thus getting our voice out there. Once we’re happy (and perhaps added a #hashtag or two), we tap retweet and let it go. Our comment will be posted as its own tweet with the RT tweet attached. We effectively embed a tweet within our tweet. Cool!
This is how our tweet will look in the Twitter app on a desktop, laptop. iPhone, Android or iPad.
Links, @mentions or #hashtags in the original tweet will not be clickable, nor is the tweeter’s avatar visible. However, if we tap on the original tweet anywhere in the box , we’ll be taken to the original tweet where we can tap to our heart’s content.
How this function appears via a 3rd Party app differs. Followers will just see our tweet, plus the handle of the account we’re retweeting, together with a link. The link will go to the original tweet and all points on. The drawback with this is that the RT tweet isn’t visible in the Twitter feed.
The drawbacks that are apparent so far are that an RT with a comment will only pop up in the original tweeter’s Notifications but not their Mentions feed. Images are also handled differently. An auto RT displays the whole image and this new RT with comment function only adds a thumbnail.
So, have some fun with this. I think it’s a great step by Twitter. It encourages more interaction, discourages people from auto RTs (how many times have I clicked on a profile to find that there is nothing but RT after RT with no real tweets) and, of course, adds value. There are always going to be times you want to auto RT – perhaps to highlight an image – and there may even be times when you want to handle an RT manually, but the possibilities with this new Twitter toy are endless.
Oh, and here’s a final lure: there’s no limit to the number of times you RT the same tweet with a comment AND you can also do an auto RT. It's not an either/or. So if you have a lot of comments, RT away, but just remember that other than turning up in Notifications, your RT won’t show up on your beneficiaries’ @Mentions feeds.
I love my 3rd party apps but I’m finding myself doing more of my Tweeting using the official Twitter app because I am so enamored with this latest development. It’s taken them a long while to get there, but they’ve done it well and added a whole new dimension to Twitter.
Let me know what you think - would love to have your thoughts. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org