A ‘retweet’ on Twitter is when you share other people’s content on that social network.
Posts on Twitter are known as tweets, and when you retweet (or ‘RT’, as it is often abbreviated) another person’s post, it appears on your own feed as a tweet that you have sent, although the original author is clearly quoted.
A tweet can appear on your own Twitter feed in either one of two ways. The whole tweet can appear in its entirety, with the original author’s Twitter avatar appearing next to the post, or it can appear against your own name and image, but with the letters ‘RT’ as a prefix to the original author’s Twitter handle (i.e. @NLCuk) before the text or links that they put in their original message.
The purpose of retweeting is to easily share content that you find interesting or newsworthy with your followers on Twitter, although the action of retweeting does have some ambiguities and possible legal ramifications that this blog has explored before.
If you retweet another person’s post on Twitter, that person will be notified when they next log into the site or via e-mail, depending on that user’s settings. In turn, if one of your tweets gets retweeted, you too will be similarly notified.
If one of your Twitter posts does get retweeted, it is part of social media etiquette to thank them for doing so if your original tweet was sharing links or content of a promotional variety, especially if it is original content that you have produced yourself.
Retweeting is a good way to establish your interests with your followers, as well as making other Twitter users aware that you appreciate their posts and content. It is quite likely that the person you have retweeted may reciprocate if you tweet about similar subjects, and they may also follow you back in return.
You do not have to follow someone on Twitter to retweet their posts, but you must be signed into the site to do so. Another way of monitoring tweets of people of interest (whose posts you may want to retweet) is to add them to a Twitter List, which this blog has discussed previously.