It’s a battle as old as time. Or, er, at least as old as when Twitter launched “New Twitter” last year.
RT or the Retweet Button?
In this corner, you have the Old School, the way people always used to pass along a fun or hilarious or awesome or interesting or all of the above Tweet:
“RT @Username Their Tweet
And in this corner, you have the New School, the Retweet Button, which pushes someone’s tweet into your follower’s feed:
Now, before we get into which one you should use, it’s important to understand exactly what the Retweet Button actually does. (If you use Twitter via certain third party applications, you might not have access to the Retweet button and may be limited to the old-school RT.)
Retweeting something using the button makes that Tweet appear in your followers’ feed. It’s almost as if the user is following the person you’re retweeting just for that Tweet. It looks like this:
See the little symbol there? That’s how it looks when something is Retweeted.
There’s one important distinction though: If someone already follows the person you’re Retweeting, they won’t see that you Retweeted them.
If you’re Retweeting, say, some breaking news from the New York Times, only the people who aren’t already following the New York Times will see it.
That leads us to the Big Question. Which method should you use?
Count me in favor of the New School Retweet Button in almost all instances. Here’s why.
Twitter has woven the Retweet button into the overall experience, and it’s now the way things like “Top Tweets” are determined:
Basically, the Tweets that are Retweeted using the Retweet button the most rise to the top, which is important in trending topics.
It’s also being used by social scoring measurers like Klout to track who is influencing conversations on Twitter. People can also easily see how many times their Tweets have been Retweeted:
In other words: If you want to give someone full credit for their awesome Tweet, the Retweet Button is the way to go.
When the Retweet Button was first introduced it took a while for people to get used to seeing strangers in their feed, but I think that has become less jarring over time and I’ve gotten used to looking for the Retweet symbol. Most of the time I’m happy to see those strangers’ Tweets because they might be someone I want to follow.
That said, I think the old school RT method has its place, but only when you’re adding to it and participating in the conversation. A great example of that is the Colson Whitehead Tweet above. He added to the person’s Tweet and made it something new, giving credit with the RT.
My feeling: “RT @Username Tweet” is so 2010. Time to get with the Retweet Button program.
What about you? Are you a RT’er or a Retweet Button-er?