The retweet button on Twitter is the worst button ever. It discourages conversations, makes it easy to parrot others, and dilutes your branding.

Let’s get some things out of the way first.

Twitter existed before they made a Retweet button. Retweeting without the button is not plagiarism. Ripping off the text without crediting the user’s Twitter handle is plagiarism. 

People copied and pasted the text, put RT in front,  and the retweet was born. Twitter shot themselves in the foot when they took an organic, user-generated syntax (the retweet) and made a button for it.

How Do You Old School Retweet?

Watch the video here:

Now, you can take my advice or you bounce from the blog.  But my perspective is always to be a help.

I’ll start with the benefits of the Retweet Button.

  1. People like to be able to say that their tweet was retweeted x amount of times.  Even I have fallen into this trap from time to time. 
  2. Some tweets are just too awesome or too long to edit in order to Retweet.
  3. People claim it curbs traffic on Twitter.  I’m not sure if that’s actually true but I’ll capitulate to the point for the purpose of this post.

The retweet is often misused when a reply is more appropriate.

When a “reply” suffices as in a case where “You’re welcome” or “Thank you” are appropriate responses, the retweet makes you look lazy.  Yep, I said it.

Now, don’t get your feelings all hurt, I’m not going to call anyone out and show screenshots or anything.  Just think before you press “retweet.”  Is it the appropriate response?  Remember, Twitter is for conversations, not just mirroring a statement back to the original sender.

Retweets can be turned off.

Yes, any user can turn off retweets from any user from appearing in your feed. I do this often with serial retweeters. It is an option in the drop down menu when you go to a profile on Twitter right after “Report @User as Spam.”  Do you want your retweets turned off?

It’s bad for branding.

Yes, I said it.  When you go to my profile, all you see is my avatar/logo/face. Why would I want to advertise someone else’s twitter in my feed?  Why am I working hard to build my business, spread my message, strengthen my credibility if I’m just going to mirror back tweets from twenty other people?

If you use the “Retweet” button, in effect, are advertising another brand on your profile. Whereas, an Old School Retweet is more like an introduction.

Brands like Analytics.

When you retweet someone else, you’re part of their statistics. If most of your tweets are retweets, your analytics will be off or absent.

Twitter rolled out access to their analytics ( to anyone. This is a great improvement.


So, when I press the retweet button (without the comment – another new feature), I just became a statistic. At the time of this writing, I was just one of two people who retweeted her.

I do not get to see those analytics. However, because she’s my best friend ever, she emailed me a screenshot.


Whereas the comment retweet, one of Twitter’s best compromises on this front to date, I do get the analytics.



* A small note about Twitter’s Comment Retweet.

If you use this in a Twitter chat, add the hashtag to your comment. Otherwise, your comment retweet will not be seen by the Twitter client. At the time of this update, this is true of TweetChat and Twubs.

Also, Hootsuite hasn’t been notifying me of Comment retweets. I only see that on Twitter dot com.

People Scan – They don’t read.

I know it’s hard to believe, but the more followers you have, the faster the home feed scrolls. The only way to avoid this is to make use of the list feature to filter the feed.

The truth is people are scanning the feed for logos/faces/avatars that they know and recognize.

This is also a compelling reason to avoid changing your avatar too often.

When I see a face/logo I trust, I’m more likely to read the tweet, click on a link, and retweet or reply. The “retweet” button uses another user’s logo which may be unknown to me.  Do you want me to ignore your tweets?

The Old School Retweet prompts new follows.

I know that I am more likely to follow a new person via an Old School RT. Why? If the person Retweeting is someone I trust, then I almost always click on the “new-to-me” account and follow.

When you press the retweet button, I probably won’t even notice the tweet in the first place since that user isn’t familiar to me. There is a tiny footnote that “@ThePersonIFollow” retweeted it but the font is so small, I never notice it.

It gives you an opportunity to comment.

I can’t help it, I prefer the comment at the front of the Tweet.  This also can serve as the start of a conversation.

Remember, Twitter is about the conversation, not just pressing buttons.  You do want to talk to people, right?

In this tweet, I added “So true” to the front of the RT of @24Intl’s tweet:

And they wrote back thank you and what-have-you.

What’s the biggest argument I hear?

It’s Too Hard, Takes Too Much Time

Really? Cutting and pasting is too hard? It takes too long. Really?  What is it? An extra 30 seconds, max?

With third party apps like,, and the like, is it really such an overwhelming obsticle?  Mobile apps including Twitter’s, Hootsuite, and Tweetcaster all give you the option to “Old School RT.”

When it comes down to the line, it’s your account.  If that’s how you want to run it, it’s your prerogative  I just presume people don’t realize the consequences and/or trust that since Twitter made the button it’s the way you should do it.  I’m here to give you a perspective of what Twitter was like before the button.

Look at your own twitter feed, would you follow yourself?

Retweeting Tools

Tools in social media change often. Why? Twitter is always changing and the third party programs do, too.

  • I copy/paste when I use my phone or Twitter desktop.
  • But I spend the most time in Hootsuite with the “RT” type of retweet.

This post was updated 8/19/19.

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