Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

The American GeniusThe American Genius

Social Media

Translating Twitter speak and garnering retweets

Not long ago one of my Twitter followers who is new to social media sent me an email asking for some help “decoding” the following tweet:

RT @JoeCascio: @aubreyliciouss PodCampCT meeting and tweetup tonight in Middletown . #pcct cc: @mmpartee

After looking at the tweet as if I was new to Twitter, I realized, “This stuff is garbledegook!”. I decided to try to translate it for him and this is what I said:

RT = retweet, which is usually a copy of what follows the two letters. It is like forwarding an email or re-broadcasting the content.

@JoeCascio is the original tweeter who was talking to @aubreyliciouss about the upcoming PodCamp and included a link for more information.

#pcct is the hashtag for PodCamp CT (perhaps I should do a post defining hashtags sometime, what do you think?)

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

I was the person sending the retweet and included the cc: at the end to alert @mmpartee of the event that I knew he would be interested in.

All of this got me to thinking about the power and gift of the retweet and I wanted to share with you why it is such an important tool on Twitter.

Consider this…

…if you have 500 followers and you tweet something, you have the potential to reach 500 sets of eyes. If I am one of those sets of eyes and I like what you have to say, I can retweet it and potentially expose your tweet to 4,500 more people. If one of THOSE people who has 2,000 followers decides to retweet it we are then up to potentially 7,000 people seeing your information.

Pretty cool, huh?

For a visual metric on the power of your tweet and retweet you can use TweetReach. This service will analyze your Twitter name or a hashtag and provide a comprehensive set of metrics about its impact on Twitter. This tool will provide a lot of information on how many people saw your tweets, how many read them, how many RT’ed your tweet and even who shared the most. For a detailed description on how these metrics work you can read this page.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

Of course, not every follower reads every post, but the more times a tweet is retweeted the more chance for it to roam the Twitterverse on a wide scale.

An interesting post by Dan Zarrella introduces a metric he called the “ReTweetability Metric”. He proposes that a person can use a simple equation to determine how retweetable their posts are and that the content of a tweet seems to be more important than the influence of the person sending the tweet.

I know that retweets have karma.

A retweet is a powerful gift that you should give often. I try to spend a good portion of my twitter time on RT’ing other people’s links and amusing comments. These people will be more likely, in turn, to give me the same gift at some later date. It is good to share and be supportive and RT’ing is a super easy and powerful way to do so.

I love the serendipity of finding new people to follow via the retweet. For example: if @laniar tweets with someone that I don’t know, I am very likely to follow the latter person simply because I enjoy tweeting with Lani and she is engaging this new-to-me person. I meet fabulous new people each day that I find this way.

Retweets are endorsed information.

It is one thing for you to post a link to your blog post, but quite another for someone else to retweet it. Their RT is a form of endorsement and gives your link credibility in others’ eyes. Readers will think, “If so-and-so thought this was a good tweet, then I do, too!”. You may even get lucky enough that the person adds something to their RT along the lines of “must read” or “great post”.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

A few tips to keep in mind:

#1- ask. In certain circumstances (not every time) it is find to add “pls RT” to a tweet. Using the word please will increase the chance of getting retweeted.

#2- leave room. 140 characters isn’t much, but leave space for the people RT’ing you to add their comments or they may opt not to retweet. Here is a post that explains how to figure out your retweet number.

#3- use a url shortening site like . Many blog post url’s are super long and will eat up tweet space. has the added bonus of tracking your url data (how many clicks, who tweeted or retweeted the link).

#4- have a compelling headline.

#5- say thank you. If people RT you it is great to publicly thank them.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

#6- have good content.

Alright, you are ready to hit the RT trail! How about you practice by tweeting this link with a “please RT” call to action?

Written By

Lesley offers 21 years experience in real estate, public speaking and training. Lesley has a degree in communications and was the recipient of an international award for coordinating media in real estate. In the course of her career Lesley has presented at international real estate conferences and state REALTOR associations, hosted a real estate television program, written articles for trade magazines and created marketing and PR plans for many individuals, companies and non-profits.



  1. Tassia Bezdeka

    September 2, 2010 at 1:09 am

    It’s important to keep in mind also that there are multiple ways of using Twitterspeak.

    I, for example, prefer adding “(via @user)” to the end of my retweet vs “RT: @user” at the beginning

    Also, everyone adds their commentary differently…
    RT: @user tweettweettweettweettweet (this is my comment)
    RT: @user tweettweettweettweettweet
    RT: @user tweettweettweettweettweet //this is my comment
    This is my comment RT: @user tweettweettweettweettweet

    And so on and so forth. Your best bet is to see the conversation if possible (using a conversation tracker, like can help here) to track the changes and discussion.

  2. Jeff Belonger

    September 2, 2010 at 3:01 am

    Lesley,… I am usually behind in months to years when it comes to online/internet technology and a few other things…. overall, this was an excellent post and helped explain several things that I wasn’t sure about or needed clarification on. thanks for this post…

  3. James Chai

    September 2, 2010 at 5:22 am

    This is a good primer for anyone who doesn’t know the lingo or “Geek Speak”. Now if someone could just explain the meaning of life …

  4. Sara Bonert

    September 2, 2010 at 10:33 am

    My husband is in the tech media world, and sometimes after we’ve been talking about the latest thing for awhile, I stop and say “what a bunch of nerds we are!”. I was just saying last night that this really has evolved into a second language, albeit once you start, it can be easy to pick up.

    I recently did a social media 101 training for agents and spent a few minutes on why people use twitter. Midway through describing why people use hashtags, someone raised their hand and asked “do you just have to write the word hashtag out?”. Fair enough question, I’d always called that symbol a pound sign, never a hash before twitter. But it was a great reminder on how thorough we should be when training on this stuff. It is all new, and to those who have never done it, it can be a lot of swallow at once.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.



Social Media

Twitter users (and even employees - some by choice) are leaving in droves. Mastodon has been a popular 2nd choice, but what is it...


This week was filled with drama at Twitter again, but we also talk about Facebook, Mastodon, Post, Grindr, and retail shrink.

Social Media

Brewing up under the surface of the tech industry has been a tiff between Elon Musk, Twitter CEO, and Apple. It's only getting started.

Social Media

When Elon Musk stepped in at Twitter, blue checkmarks stepped out - and it looks like that won't be changing anytime soon.

The American Genius is a strong news voice in the entrepreneur and tech world, offering meaningful, concise insight into emerging technologies, the digital economy, best practices, and a shifting business culture. We refuse to publish fluff, and our readers rely on us for inspiring action. Copyright © 2005-2022, The American Genius, LLC.