Twitter has made retweeting easy, provided you like the “new” way to retweet. I don’t. So that’s why I suggest the simple formula to make yourself more retweetable, no matter which way your followers prefer retweeting.
There are two ways a Twitter user can retweet your posts on the social network. The first is the “old school” version, which is often referred to as the “quote” version when you’re given a choice on how you wish to send the retweet.
This form of tweet begins with “RT” or “MT”, meaning “retweet or modified (edited) retweet” respectively. The advantage to this version is that on your Twitter stream, the tweet appears to come from you, not from the person you’re retweeting. Your followers see your handle and profile photo prominently along with the retweeted post.
The “new style” retweet works a bit differently. Rather than beginning with the abbreviation indicating a retweet, it reruns the tweet as it originally appears on your timeline, as if the original tweeter somehow temporarily gained control of your account and changed your profile picture and handle to his long enough to send the same tweet again. Visually, you get much less “credit” for the tweet: in a tiny line of font below the tweet, it indicates that you retweeted that post, but a quick glance gives the impression that you had nothing to do with the tweet at all.
Another difference between the two is the ease of acknowledging a retweet: if someone uses the “old school” method, you can click reply and send a “Thanks for the RT” tweet to that person from your Twitter.com Interactions tab. But if someone uses the newer version, clicking reply begins to send a tweet to you, not the person who retweeted you.
I believe in thanking people for retweeting me whenever it’s practical. But the new school retweet method makes that an extra challenge.
So that brings me to the point of this post:
The Simple Formula to Make Yourself More Retweetable
Did I say it was simple?
Here’s how it works: Twitter gives us 140 characters to use in our tweets. Forget that 140: if you use all 140 characters for an original tweet, you’re doing it wrong.
First, count up how many characters, including the @, are in your Twitter handle. My Twitter handle is @patricksplace. That’s a total of 14 characters.
Second, add four to that number. Those four characters will account for the initial RT, a space, and a trailing space after your Twitter handle.
Third, subtract the result of step 2 from 140. That’s how many characters you really have.
In my case, that’s a total of 18, which means that I really need to give myself only 122 characters to make my point.
Or, if you want to look at it an even easier way, whatever total you wind up with in Step 2 is the minimum number of characters you want unused when you send out a tweet.
It’s especially challenging in Twitter chats because at least one hashtag will be added to the tweet itself. But when you tweet with your own retweet in mind, you may well find yourself getting more retweets faster. And that can mean good exposure for your Twitter handle, which, in turn, could translate into more followers.
It’s also a fantastic way to learn brevity of writing. There’s almost always a quicker, shorter way to say what you’re saying. This will help you master that skill.