The Different Ways of Retweeting and What They Mean

Twitter is a versatile website that is a perfect addition to any social media campaign. There are many different aspects of Twitter, making it easy for businesses to use Twitter a little bit wrong. For example, understanding the differences between the ways of Retweeting will help promote a Tweet more effectively.


Official Retweet

An official Retweet is a button you can press that is integrated into Twitter. The Tweet will show up on your feed without any alteration to the Tweet on your part. A green border will appear around the top left corner of the Retweet, drawing the attention of people on Twitter who do not follow this person. This is perfect for:

  • Showing the full endorsement of a Tweet
  • Promoting a powerful message that you cannot translate yourself, such as a breaking news story
  • If you want the message to go viral

The official Retweet does not give you any benefits. It is used only to spread news and information without any alteration. Official Retweets are easy to spread with only one click needed. This should be used if you do not need to add content, credit, or edit Tweets. It should not be used for:

  • Connecting with your followers while sharing great content
  • All of the content of the feed. Too many Retweets makes your page look lazy

Traditional RT

Traditional RT

Before the Retweet button, users invented the RT term in order to give credit to someone else’s Tweet that they enjoyed. A sample RT looks like, “Confused about Retweeting? Here is a guide to the different Retweets: link here RT @RetweetExpert.” Even with the Retweet button, people still use RT either before or after the Tweet for certain reasons:

  • RT endorses the person who has supplied the Tweet, but also allows you to interact with them directly with the @username
  • RT is a great way to add a comment to the Tweet before RT-ing it
  • If other people have added RT @username to the front of the Tweet

Twitter is known as a community of people who add on to others ideas, constantly evolving content. RT is a perfect way to do this. Professional Tweeters, such as your business, also use RT to give credit to people. RT’s are not good for:

  • Tweets that have four or five usernames after the RT because it is hard to read
  • When an extra RT is dangerously close or over the 140 character limit


Via @username

Another way to Retweet is to add via @username to the end of a Tweet in parenthesis. It is a lighter version of retweeting, somewhere between a traditional RT and an official Retweet. This is used best when:

  • You want to focus on the content of the Tweet, but still need to give credit to the original Tweeter
  • You are adding thought or a comment to the Tweet but like the look of via @username better than an RT format
  • You are going to change parts of the Tweet entirely since the whole original Tweet is not going to be preserved

The only time you should not do via @username is for the same reasons you should not do an RT @username.

thanks for sharing

Thanks for sharing @username

This version is the best endorsement you can give a fellow Tweeter, but it takes a lot of crafted effort. You are essentially doing a RT, except you are adding a comment at the beginning thanking the Tweeter for the content. An example of this kind of Tweet would be, “Great post! @username The Four Different Kinds of Retweeting link here.” This is used when:

  • The Tweet genuinely entertained you or helped you and you think it can have the same effect on your followers
  • You want a reply from the Tweeter, which can start a Twitter partnership that will increase your social outreach
  • You want to create more traffic or engagement with your followers

This kind of Retweeting is not useful in certain cases:

  • Like with Retweet, you do not want to do it too much or your Twitter feed will seem lazy, even with the extra effort of commenting
  • Each time this Retweet is done, it loses its power, so use it selectively
  • If the original Tweeter is famous or too busy to reply, then do not bother with this kind of Retweet

What is your favorite way of Retweeting? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @HS_Writing!


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