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Don’t Stick It In Their Mouth – How to ReTweet

ReTweeting (or a RT as you see on Twitter) is repeating what someone else tweeted on Twitter. It’s a great way to spread the word about someone and shows you liked what they tweeted.

But what about if you want to add your own few characters to the original tweet?

I’m about to show you why comments before the RT is the only way to go, but before you do, don’t get your Snuggie in a bunch. Spare me about how Twitter has “NO RULES” or “Who the hell are you to say what I should do??”. I’m Scott, nice to meet you. I’m not saying you have to do it this way, it’s just my opinion, and since this is my blog there is a rule, and that is: I rule here. πŸ˜‰

I’m not telling you what to do, I’ve learned over 30,000+ tweets that some things work and some don’t. I’ve learned that best intentions can get mis-interpreted, and people can start sticking words in your mouth and you don’t want to know where their mouse has been.

So if you want to RT and add your comment, this is the way I suggest. Let’s say @UnMarketing (he rules) states something he has seen in a study about beef saying “Studies show that men like steak”. He has given no opinion, just passed along a statement he read somewhere and you, being @UnTesting, want to retweet it and add your opinion that you find that study to be “crap”. I use a harsh word like that to illustrate the point. Imagine if I used a real swear word!

Here’s what the tweet would look like with the comment before the RT:


There is no debate here. UnMarketing’s tweet and content are all after the “RT” and @untesting added his thoughts to the start, yes?

Now, the worst thing to do is just add your comment directly to the end of the original, like so:


Now @untesting has added his comment to the end of the original tweet, making it look like the original tweeter (@unmarketing) says the study finding is crap. That’s huge. Imagine if one of his followers is a client that is in the beef industry (ask Oprah about how sensitive they are). Words were now put in his mouth, and everyone who retweets this RT now put words in his mouth.

So one solution is to put lines after the original tweet to “show” that it’s you commenting on the original tweet, like this:


That certainly isn’t clearly @untesting’s comment. It can be perceived as a comment from the original tweeter. At the very least, it’s subjective and that’s not a good thing when a strong opinion is stated.

Same goes for brackets:


And some people go the length of adding “me:” in the bracket:


Again, it’s up for debate who “me” is, especially if it gets retweeted by a third person. If one of the rules of Twitter is to keep things under 140 characters, why are you adding unnecessary ones, be it even brackets or an arrow (<–)

I’ve also heard a few times that people don’t want to read “backwards” meaning having the huge slaving task of reading after the RT and THEN HAVING TO GO BACK to read before the RT. It’s not War & Peace people, it’s 140 characters. You can do it, I believe in you.

Remember, do whatever you want on Twitter, or anywhere else for that matter. But if you start sticking things in tweeters mouths that they don’t want, they may bite ya.

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(On another note: if you want something to be ReTweeted, make it under 120 characters, not 140. The RT plus your @ name take up space and the comment, written before the RT of course πŸ™‚