Twitter: RT v’s VIA – Which Is Best?

“The qualities that make Twitter seem inane and half-baked are what makes it so powerful”

~ Jonathan Zittrain, Harvard law professor and Internet expert

RT Etiquette

A big part of Twitter’s good karma is the retweet, whereby you resend a message posted on Twitter from someone who you (probably) follow onto your own followers. Especially for businesses, this plays an important part in a viral marketing campaign.

It matters less how many followers you have on Twitter, more the quality of those followers. If you can get your message retweeted on a regular basis, you will be reaching thousands of new contacts.

You may have noticed retweets coming in several different ways; on Twitter.com you will see tweets appearing in your timeline from people you may not know, but they will have the RT symbol of a couple of arrows next to them.

In other platforms, Hootsuite for example, you may see a tweet like this:

“RT @sirenf this blog is worth a read http://ht.ly/4zZ7f ,

or you may see it like this:

“ This blog is worth a read http://ht.ly/4zZ7f via @sirenf”.

So what’s the difference between RT and Via,  and which is best?

The first example, “RT @” is the most common, and easiest option if you’re not just using Twitter.com but it is also easy for twitter bots to use, and hence can be manipulated maliciously for spam or viruses. However, it is also very clear that you are resending someone else’s message.

The “via @” example takes a little more effort to execute and is yet (as we write) to be utilised by the twitter bots and so seeing this you can be pretty sure that it’s a legitimate message and (if included in the tweet) link. However, it can also be misread that it was your tweet and not a RT.

Which is best? That, I’m afraid, is down to your personal choice. What is essential though is that you acknowledge you are sending a RT in some form or another and never try and pass it off as your own – people who “steal” tweets in this way may think they’ve got away with it, but they will be found out eventually. As stated at the beginning of this post, retweeting is a big part of Twitter’s good karma.

If you need any further clarification on this, or any other aspect of social networking or online marketing, then please don’t hesitate to get in touch, or follow us on Twitter @dcultd. We wish you, as always, continued happy and safe computing.

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