Retweeting is an integral part of the Twitter experience. The retweet (or “RT”) allows Twitter users to share the best links, tweets, and gems they find from others using the service. But for beginners, it’s not immediately obvious what retweets are, or what tools to use to make retweeting easier.
This HOW TO article not only covers the basics of retweeting, but also highlights some of the best web and mobile-based tools for retweeting and tracking RTs in real-time. If you’re a Twitter beginner, we hope you find it useful; if you’re a more advanced user, we hope you’ll share it with friends who are just starting out.
1. What is Retweeting and How to Retweet
Retweeting is how Twitter users share interesting tweets from the people they are following. They copy and paste the original tweet and send it out. To give credit to the original person, users usually put “RT” plus the originator’s username at the beginning of the tweet. Here’s an example:
- The Twitter user @benparr tweets: I just heard that Apple is releasing new iPods in July!
- You retweet by posting RT @benparr I just heard that Apple is releasing new iPods in July!
2. How to Track Retweets
Once you’ve gotten used to retweeting and seen some excellent retweets in your Twitter stream, you may want to track retweets on a larger scale. The most popular retweets tend to reflect the favorite articles and most important stories of the entire Twitter community. This can be great if you want to find important articles, read useful blog posts, or are looking to track emerging trends.
Here are some of the best web-based tools for tracking retweets:
Retweetradar: Retweetradar [@retweetradar] is a web tool for tracking the most retweeted and trending content on Twitter. It provides a tag cloud to see the most popular content from today, yesterday, and even what’s popular right now.
Retweetist: Retweetist [@retweetist] is a tool that tracks the most popular links being retweeted on Twitter, just like Tweetmeme. Retweetist doesn’t stop there, however - it also lists the most retweeted accounts on Twitter.
Tweetmeme: Tweetmeme [@tweetmeme] is an authority when it comes to retweeted URLs and stories. Tweetmeme tracks the most popular links on Twitter. Once a link receives enough retweets, it appears on the front page of Tweetmeme. Tweetmeme can also be broken down by categories (i.e. sports, entertainment, technology).
3. Tracking Retweets with Mobile Phones
One of the coolest aspects of Twitter is that it’s easy to use on-the-go. Tweets can be sent from any mobile phone via text, the mobile web, or iPhone and smartphone applications.
If you need to track retweets while on the move, here are some of the best mobile tools for tracking retweets:
Tweetmeme Mobile: If you’re not an iPhone owner, you’re in luck - Tweetmeme has a mobile version at m.tweetmeme.com. Bookmark it so you can see the most popular retweets from anywhere!
4. How to Retweet with just Two Clicks
Another cool aspect about Twitter are the great applications people build to make using Twitter easy. There are desktop and web applications that can show you all of your Twitter friends and tweets in one place.
The coolest part? Some of these applications make retweeting as simple as two clicks: one to create the retweet, and one to post it to Twitter. No copy and paste required! Here are some of the best applications for two-click retweeting:
Tweetdeck: Tweetdeck is a very popular application for running Twitter on your desktop. It has many features, but one of its best is its one-click retweeting feature - hovering over a profile picture provides the easy option for retweeting anyone’s tweets - just click the bottom left icon.
Seesmic Desktop: Seesmic Desktop is another great desktop application for Twitter. Formerly known as Twhirl, it also helps users read, reply, and send tweets from the desktop. Just hover over the profile picture and click the bottom-left bottom to retweet any post.
Tweetree: Tweetree is a web-based Twitter application that helps organize Twitter using conversation trees, so you can see an entire Twitter conversation on one page. Tweetree has an easy-to-use retweet feature at the right hand side of any tweet. TwitZap is another web-based Twitter application that has a similar one-click retweet feature.
5. Mashable’s Best Retweeting Resources
If you’re looking to continue your education in the art of retweeting, then we encourage you to read some of our most popular Twitter and retweeting posts:
- The Science of ReTweets: Dan Zarrella explains which factors make certain tweets more viral than others.
- Retweet iPhone App for Twitter - Our review of the Retweet iPhone App.
- 15 Fascinating Ways to Track Twitter Trends - Covers some of the best tools for tracking trends on Twitter.
- Please Retweet Me Makes Retweeting Dead Simple - Our review of a site that helps people retweet posts.